1.20.2009

The epigenetics of the sugar high

There's been a lot of talk in the journals lately about epigenetics, now there's an interesting article in the Journal of Experimental Medicine about how bad habits regarding sugar consumption can actually create genetic changes that can be passed on to offspring.

Couriermail has a breakdown for those of you not inclined to read scholarly articles:

"It is this idea that you are what you eat. Perhaps it's a reflection of what your parents ate, and perhaps what your grandparents ate," he said.

The scientists proved that a single sugar hit, such as eating a chocolate bar, damaged the controls regulating the body's genes for two weeks.

But Professor El-Osta warned that regular poor eating meant the damage would last for months or years, and the real problems caused by an unhealthy diet were deferred until later life.

After having proved the impact of high-sugar foods, the Baker IDI team is now focusing efforts to determine if high fat foods, smoking and other lifestyle-related factors also cause long-term damage to genetic controls, which could then be passed along family bloodlines.

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