High Sugar Diet & Lifespan

Contributed by Dr. Damian Rodriguez, DHSc, MS

What we eat has a direct and long-lasting influence on our health. A fascinating recent study examining sugar-rich diets may have discovered how a meal we ate yesterday, a year ago, or even decades ago could be influencing your health today and how long you’ll ultimately live.

In an in vivo study, researchers examined the effect of short-term sugar consumption on the lifespan of female flies.1 The flies, with a normal lifespan of approximately 90 days, were separated into a control group, which was fed a diet containing 5% sugar, and the research group, which was fed a diet consisting of 40% sugar. After three weeks, both groups were switched over to a normal, “healthy” diet for the rest of their lifespan. The research group that had eaten the sugar-rich diet had on average a 7% shorter lifespan, despite sharing the same diet as the control group after the initial three weeks. The flies were then examined at a molecular level to understand the mechanism behind the variance in lifespan. What stood out was levels of FOXO, which is involved in cell growth, proliferation, and longevity. The flies in the research group showed significant downregulation of the FOXO genes compared to the control group. Previous research on FOXO gene regulation, FOXO3A in particular, had shown an association with longevity in worms and humans.2

High sugar diets may cause genetic mutations that directly influence our risk for chronic disease and shortened lifespan, even if we later improve our eating habits. Even more reason to focus our diets on whole, unprocessed foods.


doTERRA Science blog articles are based on a variety of scientific sources. Many of the referenced studies are preliminary and further research is needed to gain greater understanding of the findings. Some articles offer multiple views on general health topics and are not the official position of doTERRA. Consult your healthcare provider before making changes to diet or exercise.

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