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Stop eating sugar and eliminate wrinkles. Seemed easy enough. Or so I thought.

It appears I have a sugar monkey on my back that I thought I’d gotten rid of years ago. I fully intended to omit the refined sweetener from my diet completely when I wrote the blog post “Does Sugar Cause Wrinkles?’ two weeks ago. But after two days of clean living I took a nose dive off the sugar-free wagon and have spent the last two weeks jogging along behind it with a bowl of ice cream cupped in one hand and a bag of chocolate chips clenched in the other. (And a giddy smile on my face.)

I’ve hopped aboard the wagon again. The question is: what healthy-but-sweet treat can I substitute for my nightly three scoops of Breyer’s Mint Chocolate Chip topped with a handful of chocolate chips and a puddle of homemade chocolate sauce?

I found a couple of things I like: Dates so sticky they remind me of truffles. The tender flesh that gives way to the delicately seedy crunch of a sweet dried fig. And prunes with the texture of soft caramel.

I’ll continue to look for even more alternatives to an obsession that, in two weeks, has plastered six extra pounds on my womanly frame. Great! Now it’s wrinkles and cellulite.

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I visited family in California over a long weekend during spring break. My sister and I had our cameras with us everywhere we went. After I returned home, we both posted photos of our time together on Facebook. I was shocked at how wrinkly my face has become, especially around my eyes, and I have vowed to do something about it.

I am familiar with the fact that tanning causes wrinkles, yet I’m a big fan of laying out in the summer sunshine because I like the way I look with a tan. A few years ago I caught an Oprah broadcast that featured a dermatologist named Dr. Nicholas Perricone. He made a statement that blew me away: sugar in the diet enhances the appearance of wrinkles. Instead of using Botox or having a facelift, he said, the foods we eat can have a tremendous effect on the appearance of our skin. The proof was in the unlined face of a beautiful middle-aged woman who’d transformed her appearance by following Perricone’s dietary prescription of eliminating processed foods and increasing the consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Now that I think of it, I’ve met people who follow a raw food diet and have been amazed by how smooth and translucent their skin appears, whether tanned or not.

Could one simple change really diminish the appearance of the laugh lines around my eyes? My diet has undergone a slow but steady overhaul during the past four years. Gone are the days when I subsisted mainly on so-called foods that came from a box, carton or can. I used to go days at a time without eating a single piece of fruit or a raw vegetable. Today I can’t go a day without consuming something that came directly out of the earth or off of a tree. But I admit, I still enjoy a sizable bowl of ice cream a couple times a week. And I consider baking cookies from scratch a form of therapy, although I now use whole wheat pastry flour instead of bleached all-purpose.

Judging by the ghastly photos on my Facebook page the time has come for me to take the next step and forsake sugar. For a few weeks. To see whether it will make a difference. I only have wrinkles to lose.