A new study has found that eating sugary foods can lead to early death, but not because of people’s belief in common causes. Researchers at the Institute of Medical Sciences in London, MRC, analysed fruit flies fed a high-sugar diet and found that although they died prematurely, they were not caused by metabolic problems such as obesity or diabetes.
Many studies in the past have linked sugary foods to an increased risk of certain types of cancer and other health problems. Too much sugar may lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, increase obesity, and cause other related metabolic problems that may shorten life expectancy and reduce quality of life.
The new study found that it could also cause another serious problem, unrelated to common problems in people with diabetes. Researchers found excessive accumulation of natural waste called uric acid in fruit flies fed on a high-sugar diet, which is associated with early death. The researchers point out that too much sugar can produce the same dehydration as salt – which is why one of the early symptoms of type 2 diabetes is dry mouth. This can lead to excessive accumulation of uric acid and the formation of kidney stones. The researchers found that by giving fruit flies extra water, they eliminated shortened life spans.
Like fruit flies, people who eat a healthy diet have higher levels of radon in their blood, which breaks down into uric acid and has poorer kidney function. Uric acid levels can be used to predict future metabolic problems in humans, such as diabetes.
Of course, it is important to note that fruit flies are still unhealthy, although they do not die prematurely due to improved moisture. Fruit flies fed a high-sugar diet showed signs of metabolic disease, including evidence of insulin resistance and overweight. The researchers note that people who eat too much sugar are at risk of health problems other than kidney disease, and stress that in addition to maintaining proper moisture, a healthier diet needs to be considered.