Sweets may bring joy to life, but study says, it may also bring risk to health. Based on a recent study, a high-sugar diet may reprogram gene expression that is irreversible.
A study conducted by experts at UCL and Monash University (Australia), showed that a high-sugar diet may reduce the FOXO gene. This gene expression plays a crucial role in the lifespan of species like flies, worms and humans.
For the study, the experts used flies to know how the diet affects genes and aging. A set of female flies was fed a healthy diet containing 5% sugar, and the other was given a diet with 8 times greater sugar content.
The flies live on an average of 90 days. In the lab, the flies were given different diets for three weeks.
The results showed, even after feeding on a healthy diet, the flies that had a high-sugar diet started to die earlier. On an average, the flies had 7% shorter lifespans.
The reason behind is the reprogramming of the flies' physiology caused by the sugar-rich diet eaten in early adulthood. Researchers also found that the high-sugar diet led to molecular changes that looked similar to flies with genetically reduced FOXO.
"The fact that transient high sugar accelerates ageing in both species and by the same mechanism is pretty shocking. It is yet more evidence of how much we have to fear from excess sugar in the diet," co-author, Professor David Gems, UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing told to Medical Express.
Senior author, Dr Nazif Alic, UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing, said in an interview
, "The burden of age-related ill health is being exacerbated by poor diets and we know these can cause long-term, detrimental effects by programming our physiology. Our finding helps understand how bad diets can impact on animal lifespan. The dietary intervention we used is extreme - similar to feeding a human only cake for two decades - but the mechanism we uncovered may also be mediating long-term effects of diet in humans and this is an important idea to explore in the future."