'Spoonful of Sugar' Makes The Worms' Lifespan Go Down
November 24, 2009
If worms are any indication, all the sugar in your diet could spell much more than obesity and type 2 diabetes. Researchers reporting in the November issue of Cell Metabolism say it might also be taking years off your life.
By adding just a small amount of glucose to C. elegans’ usual fare of straight bacteria, they found the worms lose about 20 percent of their usual lifespan. They trace the effect to insulin signals, which can block other life-extending molecular players.
Although the findings are in worms, Cynthia Kenyon of the University of California, San Francisco says there are known to be many similarities between worms and people in the insulin signaling pathways department.
As an aside, Kenyon says she read up on low-carb diets and changed her eating habits immediately -- cutting out essentially all starches and desserts -- after making the initial discovery in worms. The discovery was made several years ago, but had not been reported in a peer-reviewed journal until now.