Three cans of soda a day could shorten life
What defines a “safe” amount of sugar? In a new study from the University of Utah, researchers found that what’s considered a “safe” amount of sugar for humans proved toxic and caused reproduction problems for mice. Specifically, the mice were given 25 percent more sugar than they would normally get in their diets and that resulted in twice the normal death rate for female mice, while the male mice were 25 percent less likely to hold territory and reproduce. That 25 percent boost in sugar in the diets is equivalent to a human drinking three cans of soda a day.
In an effort to evaluate realistic consumption – and not an excessive amount of sweetener as is sometimes the case in mouse studies – the researchers added a mere 25 percent more sugar than a mouse would normally consume. This increase included a 12.5 percent boost in dextrose (the industrial name for glucose) and 12.5 percent more fructose. Though the mice didn’t become obese and showed few metabolic symptoms, the females died more often and had fewer babies. The male mice were less competitive with their peers, both for territory and for finding mates.
Even when measured at consumption levels generally considered “safe,” the research team concluded that added sugar can negatively affect a person’s health. The authors pointed out that while most drugs undergo clinical trials to evaluate safety concerns, few dietary compounds, such as sodas, receive long-term toxicity testing.