Over the last 20-25 years, ever increasing intake of dietary sugars has been implicated in the expanding waistlines of Americans. Those cookies, sodas, and processed foods with artificial sweeteners are doing more harm than just to your figure. In addition to the obesity connection, they are responsible for the epidemic of type-2 diabetes and heart disease, and contributeto liver disease and premature aging.
Several studies have found that excess sugar, consumed over a long time, attaches to collagen and other proteins and modifies their structure. The resulting advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, may weaken the proteins, causing sags and wrinkles. AGEs have also been shown to induce production of harmful inflammatory cytokines (chemical messengers), and have been implicated in CV disease, glaucoma, arthritis, autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Although aging is a complex phenomenon of which we are only scratcing the surface of understanding, research on calorie restricted diets have clearly demonstrated a relationship between aging and calories intake. That is, however, only been shown in mice and worms. Human data has not replicated the association, in part because the calorie restriction is difficult to sustain. In a new study published in the journal PloS Genetics, researchers discovered that removing the gene for a glucose sensor from yeast cells allowed the cells to live just as long as those living on a glucose resricted diet. Converting glucose into usable energy occurs inside of cells. That process also generates by produts, such as free radicals, widely thought to be the culprits of aging. This study suggests an alternate possibility.
The scientists found that the lifespan of yeast cells increased as glucose in the diet decreased. Surprisingly, obliterating the sensor that detects glucose levels in the cells significantly increased lifespan irrespective of the glucose in the diet. “Thanks to this study, the link between the rise in age-related diseases and the over-consumption of sugar in today’s diet is clearer”, stated on of the researchers.
Although this information will need to be replicated in further studies and in umans, it is another reason to reduce the amount of sugar, artifical sweeteners, and processed carbohydrates in our diets.