It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
"We gave our worms a tiny bit of sugar and it shortened their lifespan by revving up the insulin pathway. I didn't go home," she laughs, "I went straight to the store and I bought a book on low-GI (low-glycemic - low sugar) diets and found a recipe and that was it, I changed immediately."
Kenyon now avoids all sugar, except dark chocolate, as well as bread, and sticks to low-GI foods.
The link between diet and aging makes sense when you consider that the gene daf-2, which was partially disabled in Kenyon's worms, activates receptors that are sensitive to two hormones – insulin and a growth hormone called IGF-1.
Later experiments shed more light on the effect of weakening daf-2 activity, which triggers a sequence of events within the cell, including the activation of a second gene, FOXO.
This receptor is normally activated by insulin, and too much sugar in the diet, which may have the opposite effect, overstimulating these receptors, says Kenyon, who warns that "sugar is the new tobacco".
For those who doubt the relevance to humans, Kenyon points to studies showing that people who live to be 100 are more likely to have mutations in the daf-2 gene. There are also variants in the FOXO gene that are more frequent among people who live to be 100.