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Lots of sugar linked to aging

March 6, 2009 at 12:55 PM   |   Comments

MONTREAL, March 6 (UPI) -- Animal studies show a reduction of calories is linked to longer life but Canadian researchers say sugar may be the link to age-related diseases.

Canadian researchers found sugar -- in particular how cells' react to its presence -- linked to aging. The study, published in the journal PLoS Genetics, found that yeast cells in which the gene for a glucose sensor was removed had the same lengthened lifespans as had the yeast on a glucose-restricted diet.

At a basic level, the researchers say, yeast cells are similar and age much like human cells but are easier to study. They found the yeast cells unable to consume glucose as energy source were still sensitive to the pro-aging effects of glucose. Conversely, obliterating the sensor that measures the levels of glucose significantly increased lifespan. Leading the researchers to suggest the cell's fate doesn't depend on what was eaten but what was sensed as eaten, the researchers say.

"Thanks to this study, the link between the rise in age-related diseases and the over-consumption of sugar in today's diet is clearer," Luis Rokeach of the University of Montreal says in a statement.

"Our research opens a door to new therapeutic strategies for fighting age-related diseases."

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