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Cut Sugar and Supplements -- and Live 15 Years Longer?

October 18, 2007 | 217,257 views

Restricting the simple sugar glucose from your diet, while avoiding vitamin supplements, may extend your lifespan, according to German researchers.

While your body needs glucose, a sugar found in high amounts in sweets, too much of it is harmful.

When the researchers used a chemical to block worms’ ability to process glucose, their lifespan was extended by up to 25 percent, which is equal to 15 human years.

The beneficial effect came from an unlikely source: free radicals. Typically, free radicals are thought to cause damage to your body, and many consume antioxidants and vitamins to fight them.

However, when the worms were unable to use glucose for energy, they increased energy power from other cells -- a process that generated more free radicals than normal.

In response, the worms generated enzymes that fought the free radicals and strengthened their long-term protection against the damaging molecules.

The study also points to a reason why antioxidants may not be beneficial in the long run.

When some of the worms were given antioxidants, the free radicals were neutralized. However, this also prevented the worms from generating the beneficial, long-term defenses.

Cell Metabolism October 2007, Vol 6, 280-293, 03

Reuters October 2, 2007


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Even though this study was conducted on worms, and therefore may not translate directly to people, it still reveals some interesting points to consider.

First, limiting glucose (sugar) in your diet is a well-known key to longevity. In worms, cutting down on this one element increased their lifespan the equivalent of 15 human years, which is a major improvement.

If you avoid glucose in your diet, does this mean that you’ll live for another 15 years? It’s impossible to say, but what I can say is that you may very likely live quite a bit longer.

Your blood glucose levels actually rise slightly every time you eat. This is natural. What is not natural is that, with the average American now eating about 2.5 pounds of sugar every week, your blood glucose levels may very likely become excessively elevated, then stay that way.

It is a well proven fact that sugar increases your insulin and leptin levels and decreases receptor sensitivity for both of these vital hormones. This can lead to:
  • High blood pressure and high cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Weight gain
  • Premature aging
The problem lies in the vast amounts of processed sweets, such as soda -- which is now the number one source of calories in the United States -- that Americans are now consuming, along with the large amount of refined carbohydrates.

When you eat these low-quality carb foods -- things like white bread, sugar, pasta, pastries, cookies, and candy -- your blood sugar levels rise. This, in turn, causes your insulin and leptin levels to rise as well, which will accelerate the effects of aging.

Avoiding sugar, on the other hand, helps you to control your insulin and leptin levels, which will help you to feel and look younger for longer.

If you’re having trouble with the notion of giving up your favorite sweet treats and refined carbs, The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is one of the best solutions I know of for this challenge. EFT is an energy psychology tool that includes a marvelous technique called Turbo Tapping, which has helped tens of thousands of people kick the sugar habit.

Also, instead of focusing on what you will be losing (negative focus), it helps to look at all the things you will be gaining, such as increased energy and a lower risk of many diseases. Meanwhile, you can enjoy healthy foods that are in-line with your nutritional type, such as meats, dairy products, fresh veggies, nuts and seeds, and much more.

Are Supplements Healthy or Harmful?

The above study also raised an interesting point about free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that steal electrons from the first thing they encounter, such as a cell wall, or a strand of DNA. The loss of an electron, in turn, oxidizes these cells, which makes them unstable and easily breakable.

As this free-radical damage continues, your cells can no longer perform properly, and hence, tissues begin to degrade and disease sets in.

An interesting point to consider is that it is not unusual that in trying to do a good thing, some supplements could actually harm you. Depending on your clinical circumstances, suppression of free radicals may actually be harmful. It all depends on your specific circumstances. So the key here is to realize that fact.

It seems that, once again, your body may have far more intelligence in knowing the appropriate actions to take for you.

No matter what, you still need a certain level of free radicals, as your body uses the chain reaction of the free radicals to turn air and food into chemical energy. They also play a vital role in your immune response, attacking foreign invaders and bacteria.

It is certainly possible that taking some antioxidants may actually prevent some free radicals from doing the job they were designed to do. Playing doctor with using supplements as drugs can clearly cause complications, so don’t play with them lightly or use them willy nilly. You need to have expert counsel or carefully study the literature before you embark on a supplement regimen.

So it turns out that it may not be wise to drastically cut back on these natural free radicals in your body (even breathing produces free radicals).

That said, it’s not wise to let them get out of control, either.

If you eat a lot of junk food and sugar, don’t sleep enough, are stressed, and are exposed to a lot of environmental pollution, your body could easily become overwhelmed by free radicals, and be unable to neutralize them on its own.

Your ticket to keeping free radicals in check, and to leading a long, healthy life, remains leading a balanced lifestyle that includes antioxidants and vitamins from fresh, whole foods, with a minimum of artificial interventions.

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