DNA Smackdown

In 2008 a group of researchers in Australia made a surprising discovery about the effects of food on DNA.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the fact that DNA is the molecule in every cell of the body that controls how well our bodies function to stay strong and healthy. That’s what makes this discovery so startling… and so potentially dangerous.

More importantly, it also gives us the opportunity to make a simple change that will drastically reduce the likelihood of getting serious diseases like diabetes and heart disease, not only in ourselves but in our children and grandchildren.

The Study

Researchers at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute had noticed that just one serving of sugar-laden food had longer-lasting negative health effects than could be accounted for by the immediate sugar buzz we’re all familiar with.

To get to the bottom of this, they designed an experiment to uncover what other factors contribute to the negative health effects from sugary foods.

One of the variables they looked at is a part of the DNA that protects the body against diabetes and heart disease. Their finding? Eating sugar turns off this protective gene.

Even more shocking was the discovery that this damaging effect lasts up to two full weeks after eating just one helping of sugar. That means even waiting two weeks between eating foods with concentrated sugar, the genetic damage from that single meal continues the whole time.

I’d wager that most people don’t wait even two weeks between sugary snacks and drinks.

“We now know that chocolate bar you had this morning can have very acute effects, and those effects can continue for up to two weeks,” said lead researcher Sam El-Osta.

He went on to say that, “These changes continue beyond the meal itself and have the ability to alter natural metabolic responses to diet.”

Imagine how this affects us when we don’t ever give our bodies a break from the sugary onslaught. The genetic damage could go on for months, or even years. And because DNA gets passed through to our offspring, that damage can potentially affect them as well.

What this study means is that we now have evidence at the cellular level that ongoing sugar consumption directly causes diabetes and heart disease. It’s a hard fact to swallow if you’re one of the billions of people who crave their sugar fix.

If this applies to you, have no fear. In the next edition of Balance Point, I’ll be sharing exactly how you can overcome your sugar cravings.

As they used to say in the old TV serial dramas, “Tune in next week…”


Hyperhealth Pro Database, In-Tele-Health, Hansville, WA, 2008.

Journal of Experimental Medicine, 2008 Sep 29;205(10):2409-17.

For an abstract of the study, see the National Institutes of Health (NIH) web site.

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