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By Mark J. Tager, MD

Americans are number one when it comes to sugar consumption from packaged food and drinks, eating the equivalent of a 5-lb bag of sugar every three weeks on average. By comparison, 200 years ago we ate around 2 lbs of sugar annually. Eastern European and Asian countries today consume less than 1.6 pounds in the same three-week period.

We all know excess sugar isn't healthy, but what it does to your skin isn't as widely discussed. In Feed Your Skin Right: Your Personalized Nutrition Plan for Radiant Beauty, I explain how AGEs (advanced glycation end products) are the culprits associated with disease, aging, and diabetes specifically.

Glycation affects the skin by making collagen more brittle. This induces wrinkles to form and contributes to the thinning of the skin. In order to reduce AGEs, carefully read the labels of processed foods and minimize eating those with a lot of added sugar, and be mindful of how you’re preparing your food.

OK…now since you did a great job, you can reward yourself with a nice piece of fresh fruit!

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Everyday products with Hidden Sugar

  • Breakfast cereals - even the "healthy" ones
  • Instant Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Granola and protein bars
  • Nut butters
  • Smoothies
  • Dried Fruit
  • Pasta Sauces
  • Salad Dressings
  • Ketchup/BBQ Sauce/Other Condiments

Cooking Techniques to Reduce AGEs In Your Diet

  • Cook at lower temperatures for shorter durations
  • Use a slow cooker on low heat
  • Cook meats with moist heat (steam, stew, poach and braise)
  • Avoid grilling, roasting, broiling or frying meats
  • Marinate meats with acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar
  • Cook sous vide (water bathed for extended time) 

Dr. Mark Tager, MD, is CEO of San Diego-based ChangeWell Inc., an organization that trains and coaches certified nutritionists, licensed aestheticians and other healthcare practitioners to enhance their craft. As a physician, he is well grounded in aesthetic, lifestyle, regenerative and integrative medicine. As a medical student at Duke University Medical Center, he created one of the first training programs for medical students in nutrition. He has been actively involved in training and consulting projects in aesthetics, stem cells, medical malpractice prevention, skincare, and advanced cardiac biomarkers.

A prolific author and speaker, he has written eleven books, the latest being Feed Your Skin Right: Your Personalized Nutrition Plan for Radiant Beauty. Mark attended Duke University Medical School and trained in family practice at The Oregon Health & Science University.

A veteran of more than 1,000 presentations, Mark shares his skills and passion to empower those who attend his trainings. He brings a wealth of experience to his professional development work. As a consultant and change agent, he has worked with a broad spectrum of organizations, from Fortune 100 companies to small non-profits.