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article imageU.S. government 'safe' sugar level harms mice

By Tim Sandle     Aug 17, 2013 in Health
A high-sugar diet, comparable to one consumed by up to a quarter of U.S. citizens, renders mice less able to compete for territory and reproduce, according to some new research.
The conclusions of a new investigation, as reported by Ecorazzi, show that mice fed a diet with sugar levels equivalent to what many people in the U.S. currently consume were more likely to die, controlled less territory, and produced fewer offspring than their healthy-diet counterparts.
For the study, scientists caught and bred wild mice, then fed their offspring a diet in which 25 percent of all calories came from sugar (the maximum “safe” amount, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture), and the level consumed by 13 percent to 25 percent of Americans, according to the authors.
After thirty-two weeks, the sugar-fed females died at twice the rate of their healthy-eating counterparts, while sugar-fed males controlled roughly one-quarter less territory and sired one-quarter fewer offspring than control males. The inference, according to the research brief, is that “This demonstrates the adverse effects of added sugars at human-relevant levels."
It should be stated that any animal study is not exactly transferable to people, given differences in physiology and the immune system. However, speaking with Nature, the lead researcher in the study said: “If I show that something hurts mice, do you really want it in your body before we’ve determined whether it’s a mouse-only problem?”
The study was led by Wayne Potts of the University of Utah and it has been reported in Nature Communications. The paper is titled "Human-relevant levels of added sugar consumption increase female mortality and lower male fitness in mice."
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