[According to new research into fruit flies, a] high-sugar diet actually reprogrammed how genes function — genes that are closely related to those that help determine the human life span.
If that’s the case, then it doesn’t really matter if the body repairs itself or the fruit fly switches to a healthier diet. Even if everything else about the fly gets back to a healthier baseline, those genetic changes means the fly’s body can no longer properly respond to or process what “normal” is.
Of course, we’re talking a truly heroic amount of sugar here, as the flies consumed about eight times the healthy daily amount….
Since almost nobody is consuming that much sugar, it’s not clear how applicable these results are to humans. But the researchers point out that the gene, dubbed FOXO, affected by the flies’ high-sugar diet has a direct evolutionary counterpart in humans, and our FOXO gene is important in determining longevity. While genetic effects of too much sugar likely aren’t shaving an entire half-decade off people’s lives, they could still be shortening how long people live.
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