A Little Sugar Is Harmless, Right? After All, It’s In Practically Everything We Eat…
So, you sent your little cherubs off to school today with a breakfast of Fruit Loops or Pop Tarts or you stopped at the coffee shop and got a sweetened coffee drink and a pastry or muffin. But that’s no big deal right? A little sugar won’t hurt anyone. Let’s see what a brand new August 2013 study tells us about a little bit of sugar. Scientists at the University of Utah looked at how sugar affected mice and found that the mouse equivalent of just three sugary sodas a day had significant negative effects on life span and competition for mates.
“That’s three sodas if the rest of your diet is pristine and sugar-free,” said lead author and biologist James S. Ruff. “And those are 12-ounce sodas, not double Big Gulps.” Sugar-fed females died twice as quickly as control mice, which were fed the same total number of calories. While the sugar-fed males did not die more quickly, they had trouble competing against the control males for mates and were less likely to hold territory and reproduce. For the rodents on the sweetened diet, sugar accounted for 25 percent of their total calorie intake. Up to one quarter of all Americans consume the same proportion of sugar as part of their diets. “[Our findings] set a new standard for caution even at low doses of added sugar,” senior author and biologist Wayne K. Potts said.
Overall, Potts and his colleagues found that the sugar-fed rodents, which didn’t look more obese or less healthy than the control animals, were nevertheless “physiologically worse at doing things they need to do on a daily basis.” (Think about your child at school or even yourself at the office) Sugar-fed females, but not males, died off sooner than their healthier counterparts. For the sugar-fed males, meanwhile, reproductive efforts were hindered by their inability to hold down territory.
So the bottom line is that a little bit of sugar could affect your longevity and your sex life. Is it worth the trade off? And if you are thinking, “No problem, I’ll just use the artificial stuff in the pink, blue or yellow packages”, then think again. There is no true consensus in the scientific community that these substances are safe. In fact, there is some scientific evidence and much clinical evidence that they can create harm to your body.
Aug. 13, 2013, Journal of Nature Communications. Study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.