You need not search for that fountain of youth to stay young, for ageing can be kept at bay just by cutting back on sugar intake.
Well, Universite de Montreal scientists have found that over-consumption of sugar is directly linked to ageing.
The researchers, however, say that it's not sugar itself that is important in this process, but rather the ability of cells to sense its presence, that affects the lifespan of a person.
Led by Biochemistry Professor Luis Rokeach, the study found that if they removed the gene for a glucose sensor from yeast cells, they lived just as long as those living on a glucose-restricted diet.
This implies that the fate of these cells doesn't depend on what they eat, but on what they think they're eating, according to the researchers.
Calorie intake has two aspects: tasting and digestion. Before nutrients reach cells, there is an analogous process in which sensors on the surface of the cell detect the presence of the sugar glucose.
Then, the molecules inside the cell break down the glucose, converting it to energy.
And out of all the above processes, it is believed that the by-products of broken down sugars cause aging.
However, the new study has a different take on the theory, and thus, scientists used yeast as a model organism to understand aging.
At a basic level, yeast cells are surprisingly similar and age much like human cells, as well as being easy to study.
It was found that the lifespan of yeast cells increased when glucose was decreased from their diet.
They then asked whether the increase in lifespan was due to cells decreasing their ability to produce energy or to the decrease in signal to the cells by the glucose sensor.
The scientists found that cells unable to consume glucose as energy source are still sensitive to the pro-aging effects of glucose.
On the other hand, obliterating the sensor that measures the levels of glucose significantly increased lifespan.
"Thanks to this study, the link between the rise in age-related diseases and the over-consumption of sugar in today's diet is clearer. Our research opens a door to new therapeutic strategies for fighting age-related diseases," said Rokeach.
The study has been published in the journal PLoS Genetics.