Can the sugars in CNY treats cause you wrinkles?

With Chinese New Year just around the corner, we often come across articles listing different CNY treats and the amount of damage they can do, calorie-wise.

But it’s not just about the calories! These CNY treats often contain a lot of hidden sugars. Too much sugar can not only affect your waistline or exacerbate diabetes, but also destroy the collagen in your skin.

Eating anything sugary essentially triggers an autoimmune response known as glycation. When your body breaks down sugar molecules, they bind onto proteins and fats in your body to form AGEs, molecules that destroy collagen and elastin as they build up in your body.

The destruction of collagen and elastin in your body results in your skin being wrinkly, less supple, and less radiant.

With this in mind, here’s a list of common CNY treats and the amount of damage they do:

Pineapple Tarts (2 pieces): 163 calories; 12g sugar

Lapis Cake (1 slice): 157 calories; 3.1g sugar

Kueh Bangkit (2 pieces): 46 calories; 2g sugar

Bak Kwa (1 slice): 229 calories; 22g sugar

Love Letters (2 pieces): 112 calories; 10g sugar

Kueh Bahlu (1 piece): 40 calories; 4g sugar

Nian Gao (1 serving): 92 calories; 3.6g sugar

Packet drink (on average): 92 calories; 23g sugar

Let’s assume an average person drinks 1 packet drink, has 1 slice of bak kwa, 2 pineapple tarts, 1 lapis cake, 2 love letters, and 3 kueh bangkit at just 1 house visit.

Assuming one does 2 house visits a day, that’s a grand total of 1,186 calories and 146.2g of sugar (that’s roughly 12 tablespoons of sugar!!) – and that’s on top of the calories gained from your 3 main meals! If that’s not jaw-dropping enough, we don’t know what is.

But we’re not party poopers, and it’s definitely not fun abstaining from sweet treats while everyone else is having fun. Here are some things you can do to keep your sugar intake in check:

  • Eat something high in fiber before you head out house-visiting, be it an apple or some rolled oats. This prevents any hunger pangs from making you make poor judgments.
  • Mindfully eat in moderation! Sharing is caring – share that heavenly slice of bak kwa: that’s instantly 11g of sugar less for you, and you still get to enjoy it
  • If you still want to indulge in your CNY treats, you could make up for it by cutting down on other sugar intake sources, such as sugary canned drinks. Ask for tea or water instead!

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