SALT LAKE CITY, UT. (CBS Las Vegas) – According to a new study out of the University of Utah, a sugar rush could be dangerous to more than just your weight.

Researchers found that male mice that were fed a diet of 25 percent more sugar were less likely to defend their territory. That is the equivalent to about three cans of soda for humans. Female mice on that same diet died twice the normal rate.

Studies showed that between 13 and 25 percent of Americans got a quarter or more of their calories from added sugar.

“I think the big takeaway is the level of sugar we readily eat and think is safe causes major health declines in mice,” James Ruff, the study’s first author told the Salt Lake Tribune. “We’re not just talking about some minor metabolic things. We’re talking about increased rates of death and lower rates of reproduction.”

When the mice got the equivalent of about 500 calories of sugar on a 2,000 daily calorie diet for about six months, the interesting result was what did not happen. Those mice did not get fatter.

“Our mice would have passed their physical but still have negative health impacts,” Ruff added to the paper.

The 156 mice in the study got a nutritious food made of wheat, corn, and soybeans with plenty of vitamins and minerals.

The control mice got a corn starch instead.

After 26 weeks, which is about one-quarter of their lifespan, the mice were released into a room-size pen to see how they would interact and compete for mates and desirable locations.

The researchers would study the mice for 32 weeks. They would watch how the mice interacted, bred, and weaned.

“When you look at a mouse in a cage, it’s like trying to evaluate the performance of a car by turning it on in a garage,” Ruff told the Tribune. “If it doesn’t turn on, you’ve got a problem. But just because it does turn on, doesn’t mean you don’t have a problem. To really test it, you take it out on the road.”

The study was published in the online journal Nature Communications.


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