Cynthia Kenyon, a researcher into aging at the University of California, claims that sugar is the new tobacco.
"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.
Cynthia Kenyon, the lead researcher, now avoids all sugar.
Apparently the link between sugar, insulin and aging is the over-stimulation of receptors related to the aging process. Disabling the daf-2 gene
resulted in worms living twice as long and appearing healthy up until their deaths.
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".
Apparently, while the tests were carried out on worms, the link with humans is strong. People who live much longer are likely to have a mutated daf-2
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.
So if I understand this correctly, eating sugar over stimulates receptors related to speeding up the aging process. In worms, disabling a gene
involved in this process led to the worms living twice as long and remaining healthy. The link to humans is strong in that long lived people often
have a mutation of that gene.
Cynthia Kenyon, the leading researcher responsible for this discovery, no longer eats sugar.
I'm not sure I'm going to look at sugar in quite the same way ever again. This is quite a discovery.
edit on 17-3-2013 by ollncasino because: (no reason given)