Sugar takes some lumps (Sound effect: bloop-bloop sugar cubes in coffee)
I'm Bob Karson with the discovery files--new advances in science and engineering from the National Science Foundation.
You might have heard about studies where mice were fed large doses of sugar--at levels out of proportion to what we humans consume. Now, a study from the University of Utah shows refined sugar is toxic to mice at levels equivalent to what a quarter of Americans actually eat.
The team used its new test: The organismal performance assay. They bred 156 mice and kept both sexes apart. They fed half the males and half the females a normal diet and the other half the same diet but spiked with 25 percent added calories from sugar.
(Sound effect: mice in enclosure) After 26 weeks, the researchers placed all the mice in room-sized pens--a more realistic testing environment than the usual laboratory cages. These "mouse barns" let the mice compete naturally for mates and desirable territories.
After 32 weeks, the 'sugar-added' females' death rate was double the other females. Sugar daddy mice were a quarter less likely to hold territory and reproduce.
By the way, that 25 percent added-sugar diet is the upper limit of what's generally considered safe for people. It's the mouse equivalent of a healthy human diet plus three cans of soda a day. (Sound effect: 3 quick pop top opens) I guess their cans are just smaller. (Sound effect: squeak!)
"The discovery files" covers projects funded by the government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research--brought to you, by you! Learn more at nsf.gov or on our podcast.