Sugar can have a negative effect on the complexion and even trigger skin diseases such as hives or rosacea. Nutritionist and book author Meike Diessner reports on her experiences – and gives tips on how you too can improve your complexion with the right diet.

Dear readers,

we really all know it. Sweet temptations are lurking around every corner. Sometimes we secretly hope for a sugary option, sometimes we are taken by surprise: our teeth have already been brushed, but on the way to bed the chocolate shoots into our heads in a flash and really challenges our mental stability.

The tasty sugar rush of the nutrition roller coaster tempts with quick feelings of happiness, but shortly afterwards pulls us all the deeper into the valley. The really common thing about it is that sugar is constantly being foisted on us everywhere – and our health is constantly being put to a hard test as a result.

But let’s talk about it in a less abstract way. You already know that too much sugar is unhealthy – no “breaking news” that has to be pushed with the daily live ticker. And yet only a few people manage to swear off the sweet “drug”.

No, quite the opposite: again and again we dabble blindly after the soul flatterers of the industry like little lemmings and allow ourselves to be seduced by their intoxicating sweetness. Despite my medical knowledge of the dangers of table sugar and the resulting health consequences, I too have remained loyal to the sweet poison for a long time.

I was particularly drawn to the animal world: In particularly stressful phases, I used to draw strength from gummy bears and their sticky friends, also known as liquorice snails. On the way to work we quickly had a zero drink “so as not to overdo it with the sugar”. And during the lunch break, the chocolate bars lured in to end the hearty meal. Because I learned during my training in traditional Chinese medicine: You should always stay in the middle.

Meike Diessner is the founder of the practice for integrative orthopedics in Bochum and specializes in conservative therapy methods. As a sports and nutritionist, the topic of healthy eating is particularly important to her. More information can be found on their website or their Instagram channel.

So I went from one “sugar high” to the next, only that there were no more “highs” for a long time. A few years ago, my body sent me a clear “SOS signal” in the form of a warning shot in the bow or against my own skin: hives with hellish itching, strong sensitivity to the gentlest stimuli and unsightly wheals suddenly attacked my outer shell.

At the time, every seam on my body hurt, every fold in the bed sheet caused deep pressure points in my skin, and when I took my food out of the oven, the heat immediately conjured up a red flush on my cheeks. Unfortunately, the lighthouse color of my face didn’t help guide my body back to safe haven.

Rather, a vicious circle emerged. Due to the strong symptoms, my sleep was massively disturbed, my mood was in the basement and during the day I was overcome by unbelievable tiredness, coupled with irrepressible ravenous hunger. I first tried to compensate for this with sugar, which fueled the symptoms. And as if that wasn’t enough, rosacea grafted itself on top.

“Rien ne va plus” or as it is called in the Ruhr area “shift in the shaft”: spicy food, every form of physical and mental stress, cold, heat, sun, sugar and cow’s milk products got my skin completely out of control.

The symptoms were initially so diffuse that neither I nor dermatologists could make sense of it. Only months later did I have the diagnosis: urticaria (nettle rash) of unclear cause. In addition to my rosacea. And at some point it rang in my upstairs room: Could my diet be the root of the complaints?

Because in summary, this is how I fed myself: sugar with empty calories and industrial additives in large quantities, but a nutrient intake that could hardly have been proven even in a laboratory analysis. The good thing: If you get yourself such a sweet soup, you don’t have to spoon it up, but recognize the bad habits and false friends and separate.

A permanent change in diet to “clean eating” was the “game changer” for my skin. I eliminated industrial sugar and additives as far as possible and put together a dietary supplement tailored to my symptoms at short notice. After a few weeks I had my skin under control again.

Fresh, unprocessed foods are the focus of “Clean Eating”. I would advise against household sugar and highly processed products, including sugar substitutes and sweeteners. Industrial sweetness really fires up chronic inflammation in the body and over time they develop into just as chronic diseases as in my example.

So it’s not just about doing without classic household sugar: replacing one health toxin with another doesn’t help us and our body. The dose is crucial. And we have to reduce them, whether it’s household sugar or the supposed “sweetness from nature”. Agave syrup is also an industrial product that does not flow directly from the palm into the packaging.

Sauces (powder), mustard, ready-made soups, pizza, bread, muesli, yoghurt, meat substitutes, dairy products, sausage products… In all of them, the industry has hidden sugar, sometimes better, sometimes worse. When you start looking at the ingredient lists of your food and uncovering sugar traps, you are taking a giant step. Especially if (pre-)illnesses already exist, a lot can be achieved in everyday life by a significant reduction in sugar and industrial additives.

It is important to me to take away your fear of natural fructose at the same time. Anyone who wants to tell you that you also have to strictly avoid fructose from fruit and fruit, even though there is no medical necessity such as a metabolic disease or fructose intolerance, is throwing too many types of sugar into one pot.

There is a big difference between consuming natural fructose from fresh fruit and giving our body a good portion of micronutrients. Or whether we get industrial fruit sugar (isolated fructose) from the “Candy-Man”, the industry, cheered.

The Harvard Health Letter once illustrated this beautifully: Pureed berries were also added to a glass of water with five to six teaspoons of sugar. Although natural fructose is added to the industrial sugar, the blood sugar levels in the study participants did not get any more out of control than they did after drinking the “pure” sugar water. On the contrary: Secondary plant substances from the berries can block the absorption of sugar through the intestinal wall, which ultimately leads to a slower release of insulin.

Now you may be wondering why I have occasionally resorted to dietary supplements in addition to the “clean” diet. If the body is already showing symptoms and has already reached an emergency situation due to the lack of micronutrients, as was the case with me, then the temporary use of food supplements CAN be useful. That’s what my blood analysis showed me. Knowing the starting values ​​is always the basis so that the supplement is targeted and can work. I strongly advise against well-intentioned “self-medication” flying blind.

For example, in the case of allergic symptoms such as hives, zinc, vitamin C, quercetin and calcium are particularly suitable for alleviating the symptoms through mast cell stabilization. Omega-3 fatty acids, in turn, can reduce chronic inflammation and vitamin D helps stabilize the immune system. If we know what is lacking, we supplement our clean diet in a targeted manner to support our system.

Naturally slim: lose weight healthily with Clean Eating – LübbeLife

dr Meike Diessner

What other crazy effects sugar and industrial additives have on our body, how they mess us up, I describe in much more detail in “Lean Naturally”. Because all the details would make this sugar-sweet column go completely off the rails.

your dr Meike Diessner