While it’s been known for a relatively long time that too much sugar is bad for your waistline and can led to cavities, recent research indicates that diets high in sugar can lead to a loss of sexual desire and an early death — at least, if you’re a mouse.
If the findings of a new study from researchers at the University of Utah hold true for humans as well as for mice, then you have two more reasons for cutting down on or eliminating sugar from your diets.
Male mice, when fed a diet that included 25 percent more sugar, which to humans would equal about three cans of soda per day, experienced a lowered libido and lessened desire for sex. They also were less likely to try to defend their territory
As for female mice fed such a high-sugar diet, researchers found that they died twice as early as female mice that weren’t fed such a diet.
This high-sugar sort of diet is sometimes referred to as the “American diet” in other countries, though the U.S. is not the only country in the world which has more than its share of people who overindulge in foods which are high in sugar.
The study involving the mice who ate high-sugar diets was published online on Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.
What percentage of the calories Americans consume are from sugar?
According to several studies, Americans get a relatively high amount of their daily caloric intake from added sugars.Between 15 and 25 percent of Americans eat diets which are made up of foods and beverages that are high in sugars.These foods make up a fourth (or more) of their overall calories.
James Ruff, one of the scientists who, along with Wayne Potts (who is also a biologist), authored the study, added:
“I think the big takeaway is the level of sugar we readily eat and think is safe causes major health declines in mice,We’re not just talking about some minor metabolic thing. We’re taking about increased rates of death and [lower rates] of reproduction.”
Did the mice on the high-sugar diet get fatter?
What was one of the surprising findings to the researchers, Ruff and Potts, was that the mice fed high-sugar diets of the equivalent of about 500 calories of sugar out of a diet of 2,000 daily calories for approximately six months did not get any fatter.
According to Ruff:
Our mice would have passed their physical but still have negative health impacts.”
Another surprising finding was the difference between how male and female mice reacted to the high-sugar diets.
Initially, perhaps due to the extra energy they received from the added calories, females experienced higher birth rates. However, that soon dropped off, and approximately 35 percent of the females fed the diet high in sugars died. That’s twice the 17 percent rate in the female control group.
In the words of Wayne Potts, the latest findings “set a new standard for caution even at low doses of added sugar.”
Why should humans be concerned by how sugar affects mice?
What are the implications, if any, of the study of how diets high in sugar affect mice? According to Potts, there’s a direct connection between how mice and humans react to food and other substances. Approximately 80 percent of the substances which are toxic to mice are also toxic to humans, according to Potts. That’s why it’s likely that humans fed a diet high in sugars would experience similar health issues.
Have you ever felt run down after the shot of energy you get from the couple of doughnuts you ate at breakfast time wears off? Or, have you wondered why the candy bar you ate works fine to get you through the first half of a midterm, but you feel sluggish during the second half?
It could be that the affects of the sugary foods you ate eventually wore off. However, the extra calories they have put upon your stomach, hips, and waistline don’t wear off as quickly, which, in and of itself, could lead to a feeling of lessened sexual desire, and maybe for a longing for your new life-without-sex to end.
Written by: Douglas Cobb