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Dietary glucose shortens lifespan of worms


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#1 Ben K

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 01:00 AM


More evidence that less sugar is better.

The full study is here:
http://www.cell.com/...4131(09)00302-7

Introduction/Summary:

Glucose Shortens the Life Span of C. elegans by Downregulating DAF-16/FOXO Activity and Aquaporin Gene Expression

Many studies have addressed the effect of dietary glycemic index on obesity and diabetes, but little is known about its effect on life span itself. We found that adding a small amount of glucose to the medium (2%) shortened the life span of C. elegans by inhibiting the activities of life span-extending transcription factors that are also inhibited by insulin signaling: the FOXO family member DAF-16 and the heat shock factor HSF-1. This effect involved the downregulation of an aquaporin glycerol channel, aqp-1. We show that changes in glycerol metabolism are likely to underlie the life span-shortening effect of glucose and that aqp-1 may act cell nonautonomously as a feedback regulator in the insulin/IGF-1-signaling pathway. Insulin downregulates similar glycerol channels in mammals, suggesting that this glucose-responsive pathway might be conserved evolutionarily. Together, these findings raise the possibility that a low-sugar diet might have beneficial effects on life span in higher organisms.


Related news article:

Sugar Shortens Life Span in Worms
But it's unclear whether the same holds true for humans, researchers say

TUESDAY, Nov. 3 (HealthDay News) -- For a certain kind of worm, the sweet life may also be the short life.

New research suggests that added sugar in their diet robs the creatures of 20 percent of their life span.

It's unclear what the findings mean for humans, but they raise questions about the impact of diets high in sugar, according to the study authors, who report their findings in the November issue of the journal Cell Metabolism.

In the study, researchers added a small amount of glucose -- sugar -- to the diet of worms known as C. elegans. The worms normally eat bacteria.

The worms had shorter lives, apparently because of the sugar's effect on the worms' insulin signals, according to the report.

One of the researchers, Cynthia Kenyon of the University of California at San Francisco, said the worms and people are actually similar in the way their bodies handle insulin.

"In the early '90s, we discovered mutations that could double the normal life span of worms," Kenyon said in a news release from the journal's publisher. Those mutations involved internal signals regarding insulin, she explained.

The researchers noted that although the research is in its early stages, it's possible that a low-glycemic index -- one that doesn't quickly boost blood-sugar levels -- could boost longevity.

Scientists are already at work on related research, trying to understand how tightly restricted diets -- in which animals eat much less than they normally would -- helps them live longer.

Humans could conceivably try to do the same thing, but it's impractical for many people to eat much less than their bodies tell them they should.

Meanwhile, as a result of her work, Kenyon has adopted a low-carb diet, giving up most starches and desserts.

#2 tunt01

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 03:14 AM

this is an extension of her past work, where i believe she showed a fault receptor involved in insulin signaling extended the lives of worms.

i read a couple interviews w/ her, where she discussed her diet. the problem i had w/ her line of logic is that she doesn't seem to give a hoot about methionine (excess protein) in her own diet and we dont live on bacteria.

but sugar is prob not a good idea...

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#3 niner

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 03:35 AM

this is an extension of her past work, where i believe she showed a fault receptor involved in insulin signaling extended the lives of worms.

i read a couple interviews w/ her, where she discussed her diet. the problem i had w/ her line of logic is that she doesn't seem to give a hoot about methionine (excess protein) in her own diet and we dont live on bacteria.

but sugar is prob not a good idea...

Yeah, sugar is a pretty lousy idea. Too bad it tastes so damn good. I can't really hold it against Kenyon that she's not doing Met restriction. She's not doing CR. She's not restricting exogenous AGEs. Both have been shown to extend life substantially in mammals. She's still doing a good thing.

#4 VidX

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 05:52 PM

I wonder - what about fruits? Seems like a natural food, shouldn't be that bad, as it's not a pure glucose and body needs some time to break them down...

#5 kismet

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 06:09 PM

Seems like a natural food, shouldn't be that bad, as it's not a pure glucose and body needs some time to break them down...

Natural fallacy followed by non sequitur. Natural is not always good (yes, one can argue the paleo perspective for certain fruits vegetables without committing a natural fallacy [however, this is merely a *working hypothesis*, which is trumped by evidence] but for the layman it's simpler to keep in mind natural != good) and the composition does not follow from natural-ness. Many natural foodstuffs have a lousy composition or are naturally toxic.
We know fruits and vegetables are good because decades of extremely strong and well-designed prospective studies and scores of RCTs (trying as best as they can to eliminate variables...) have shown that they're healthy - not because they're natural.

I don't see much merrit in this work other than the 'basic research' angle. We've known that this is true for quite some time in man.

Edited by kismet, 04 November 2009 - 06:10 PM.


#6 HaloTeK

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 12:23 AM

Interesting study -- def shows that foxo, hsf-1 and aqp-1 are important longevity factors -- how this information will transport to humans remains to be seen.

Looks like they just added glucose to their normal diets -- wasn't like they were trying to lower the amount of bacteria they ate to conpensate for this increase in energy intake. What happens when you add 2% fat to their typical diet of bacteria?

I'd love to know if the addition of 2% glucose hurts longevity in the worms "IF" they are calorically restricted.

The best diet for longevity most will most likey deter the human body from "seeing" insulin (what I mean by this is that the growth factors that are the result of insulin-activity are turned down). Leading to low body mass, low muscle mass, and low growth parameters. Sounds a bit like caloric restriction to me.

There are tradeoffs though -- increasing IGF-1 expression leads to better outcomes in many situtions because it is a health promoting compound (in terms of muscle growth and recovery from disease) -- but it does speed your demise!

Edited by HaloTeK, 05 November 2009 - 12:23 AM.


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#7 DukeNukem

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 02:22 AM

I wonder - what about fruits? Seems like a natural food, shouldn't be that bad, as it's not a pure glucose and body needs some time to break them down...


Fruits are relatively low in sugars for their volume, with a few exceptions, like bananas. My guess is that if you take 100 grams of potato versus 100 grams an apple, for example, that there's a lot more total sugar in the potato. This is likely true of any fruit or berry versus a potato (or any grain), because fruits/berries have more water content.

One medium baked potato raises blood sugar by 5-10 times normal -- quite a pro-aging event.

#8 HaloTeK

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 05:55 AM

I wonder - what about fruits? Seems like a natural food, shouldn't be that bad, as it's not a pure glucose and body needs some time to break them down...


Fruits are relatively low in sugars for their volume, with a few exceptions, like bananas. My guess is that if you take 100 grams of potato versus 100 grams an apple, for example, that there's a lot more total sugar in the potato. This is likely true of any fruit or berry versus a potato (or any grain), because fruits/berries have more water content.

One medium baked potato raises blood sugar by 5-10 times normal -- quite a pro-aging event.


Duke, are you really ready to make a statement that eating potatoes ages you faster? Let's take 2 groups -- one eating potatoes, veggies, little fruit, little meat, coconut -- and one consuming a paleo diet with meat, veggies, little fruit, coconut -- and lets assume that both groups are only eating enough food to maintain a lean body mass index of 18,19 (granted, the caloric intakes of the different diets may be a little different to maintain those BMI). Are you prepared to say the potato group is going to have a significantly shorter lifespan?

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#9 DukeNukem

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 12:17 AM

I wonder - what about fruits? Seems like a natural food, shouldn't be that bad, as it's not a pure glucose and body needs some time to break them down...


Fruits are relatively low in sugars for their volume, with a few exceptions, like bananas. My guess is that if you take 100 grams of potato versus 100 grams an apple, for example, that there's a lot more total sugar in the potato. This is likely true of any fruit or berry versus a potato (or any grain), because fruits/berries have more water content.

One medium baked potato raises blood sugar by 5-10 times normal -- quite a pro-aging event.


Duke, are you really ready to make a statement that eating potatoes ages you faster? Let's take 2 groups -- one eating potatoes, veggies, little fruit, little meat, coconut -- and one consuming a paleo diet with meat, veggies, little fruit, coconut -- and lets assume that both groups are only eating enough food to maintain a lean body mass index of 18,19 (granted, the caloric intakes of the different diets may be a little different to maintain those BMI). Are you prepared to say the potato group is going to have a significantly shorter lifespan?

I'm not willing to say "significantly shorter lifespan," but I'm certain that they will have a shorter lifespan. Maybe by just a few percent. Potatoes are just poly-glucose chains as far as our body knows, and dumping glucose into our system is not healthy over the long haul, and not likely even the short haul. If I eat carbs, I want them to be have a LOT of nutritional bang-for-the-buck, and potatoes (other than potassium) fail to clear my hurdle. (Except occasional cheating.)




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