NEW TEST HINTS THREE SODAS DAILY HURT LIFESPAN, REPRODUCTION
Aug. 13, 2013 – When mice ate a diet of 25 percent extra sugar – the mouse equivalent of a healthy human diet plus three cans of soda daily – females died at twice the normal rate and males were a quarter less likely to hold territory and reproduce, according to a toxicity test developed at the University of Utah.
“Our results provide evidence that added sugar consumed at concentrations currently considered safe exerts dramatic adverse impacts on mammalian health,” the researchers say in a study set for online publication Tuesday, Aug. 13 in the journal Nature Communications.
“This demonstrates the adverse effects of added sugars at human-relevant levels,” says University of Utah biology professor Wayne Potts, the study’s senior author. He says previous studies using other tests fed mice large doses of sugar disproportionate to the amount people consume in sweetened beverages, baked goods and candy.
“I have reduced refined sugar intake and encouraged my family to do the same,” he adds, noting that the new test showed that the 25 percent “added-sugar” diet – 12.5 percent dextrose (the industrial name for glucose) and 12.5 percent fructose – was just as harmful to the health of mice as being the inbred offspring of first cousins.
Even though the mice didn’t become obese and showed few metabolic symptoms, the sensitive test showed “they died more often and tended to have fewer babies,” says the study’s first author, James Ruff, who recently earned his Ph.D. at the University of Utah. “We have shown that levels of sugar that people typically consume – and that are considered safe by regulatory agencies – impair the health of mice.”
The new toxicity test placed groups of mice in room-sized pens nicknamed “mouse barns” with multiple nest boxes – a much more realistic environment than small cages, allowing the mice to compete more naturally for mates and desirable territories, and thereby revealing subtle toxic effects on their performance, Potts says.
“This is a sensitive test for health and vigor declines,” he says, noting that in a previous study, he used the same test to show how inbreeding hurt the health of mice.
“One advantage of this assay is we get the same readout no matter if we are testing inbreeding or added sugar,” Potts says. “The mice tell us the level of health degradation is almost identical” from added-sugar and from cousin-level inbreeding.
The study says the need for a sensitive toxicity test exists not only for components of our diet, but “is particularly strong for both pharmaceutical science, where 73 percent of drugs that pass preclinical trials fail due to safety concerns, and for toxicology, where shockingly few compounds receive critical or long-term toxicity testing.”
How is Sugar Linked to Heart Disease?
What happens to unburned calories? They turn to fat. What processes glucose and fat? The liver. What happens when the liver is overworked, stressed, or has too much unhealthy fat to process? Your LDL’s rise (bad cholesterol). Toxic sugar. That’s an oversimplification of the process, but it makes the point. Research showed this rise in cholesterol due to consumption of high fructose corn syrup.
How is Sugar Connected to Cancer?
We’ve known that cancer cells are fast growing cells that feed on sugar. The more sugar, the faster they can grow. Why is this a sudden revelation? I read this theory years ago. But most of us pick sugar over health. And, being the doubting Thomas’ we are, we need someone important (60 Minutes) to say it for it to be true.
Is Sugar Addictive?
Like the Type 2 Diabetes and obesity epidemics didn’t give it away. Or the fact that the average American eats 1/3 of a pound of sugar a day wasn’t a tip off?
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.