By: Adeel Anwar
1/6/2017 8:24 PM
Researchers took a look at 556 Chinese people of various ages and behaviors living in a suburb of Beijing as part of a study on diabetes. One-hundred and fifty-nine participants already had diabetes, while one-hundred and ninety-seven of the participants had the early onset symptoms of diabetes, or pre-diabetes, and finally the last two hundred participants were completely healthy. The researchers surveyed the participants about their eating habits and behaviors while also measuring the length of their DNA telomeres in their blood cells.
What are telomeres?
Telomere (tel-uh-meer) is a Greek word meaning end part, or telo (end) part (part). Telomeres are basically the caps at the end of each strain of DNA that protect our chromosomes and chromosomal DNA much like the plastic that is at the end of shoelaces keeps your shoelace intact. If you’ve ever broken the end of your shoelace and exposed the fabric underneath, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The shoelace quickly becomes frayed, becomes a bunch of separated fibers and after some time, you’ll have to wet the end of the shoelace just to get it through the hole. In much the same way, without telomeres, our DNA strands become damaged and our cells are no longer able to do their jobs. Short telomeres have become connected to premature aging unequivocally and the length of your telomeres represents your true biological age as opposed to your birth age. If you want to read more about the connection between telomeres and aging, there is a terrific study named The telomere sydnromes (1) that you can take a look at.
The varying amounts of different macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) had absolutely no effect on telomere length while having a very high caloric intake did in fact have a negative impact on telomere length. Something else of note that was discovered is that they were unable to find a relationship between the amount of vegetables you eat and telomere length, but that doesn’t mean quite eating your veggies! This may have been because the participants did not eat adequate amounts of vegetables in the first place to sway the findings. In the images below, researchers divided participants into three equal groups based on the length of their telomeres.
While a diet high in beans, nuts, fish and seaweed had a positive effect on telomere length, a diet that was higher in soft-drinks was by far negative on telomere length!
The lower that your body’s sensitivity is to insulin, the shorter that your telomere length will be. Thus, diabetes has a strong negative relationship on telomere length. Now we just need to do a study on cigarette smoking and telomere length to prove what we already know, cigarettes kill.
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