I was reading about the advantages of the Dr. Perricone Diet and his ideas that a correct diet can result in younger looking skin. He talks about eating salmon for breakfast and I am a vegetarian. Should I stick to my usual food or would eating fish make a real difference?


The anti-aging benefits of a diet rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids from fish and low in simple sugars was first recognized a long time before Dr. Perricone ever wrote his book, The Wrinkle Cure. In 1954, Dr. Denham Harman proposed the free radical theory of aging explaining that our bodies are constantly under attack from highly reactive chemical intermediates known as ‘free radicals‘ that are derived from pollution, cigarette smoke, sunlight, excessive exercise and the body’s own metabolic processes. These reactive compounds lead to inflammation in the body and it is believed that constant inflammatory insult ultimately leads to degenerative diseases.

Sugar: The Aging Catalyst

Over 30 years ago Dr. Anthony Cerami proposed that sugar affects  our body ages. This was based upon the observation that diabetics age around 30 percent faster than non-diabetics. Sugars are an essential source of energy, but once in the circulation they can act as molecular glue, attaching themselves to the amino group in tissue proteins such as collagen, and cross-linking them into hard yellow-brown compounds known as Advanced Glycation End products or AGE’s.

The ‘Not So Sweet’ Reality about Sugar

Dr. Robert Lustig, a luminary in the field of pediatric endocrinology has been labelled ‘The anti-sugar guy’ after his groundbreaking lecture Sugar: The Bitter Truth was posted on YouTube and garnered more than 5 million views. Dr. Lustig’s experience harrowing experiences with obese children led him to explore the detrimental role of fructose as a mediator of both chronic disease and continued caloric consumption.

Body’s Natural Collagen Reserves Deteriorate

Collagen is present in high concentrations in skin, bone, joint cartilage, blood vessels, all our body organs and even our teeth. After ingesting simple carbohydrates in the form of bread, pasta and cakes, human tissues inevitably become rigid and yellow with pigmented age deposits. This results in a constellation of changes ranging from stiff sallow-looking skin to thickened arteries, stiff joints, feeble muscles and failing organs – namely the hallmarks of old age.

What’s In An ‘Anti-Aging’ Diet?

Based on the above scientific findings, an anti-aging diet would have to be very low in simple carbohydrates, high in antioxidants from fresh fruit and vegetables as well as proper supplementation and high in fish oils that are anti-inflammatory. Studies have revealed that an increase in sugar intake is a leading cause of the aging process in the body.

However as you are a vegetarian, eating salmon is not an option. To obtain your daily requirement of omega-3 fatty acids, take quality supplements and eat a varied diet. It is advisable however, to understand the difference between the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) generally prescribed by conventional doctors and Optimal Daily Requirement which is the actual concentration required by the body to ensure optimum health and vitality.