People who avoid eating glucose, a common source of energy in chocolate and sweets, may live longer, according to new research.
Recent cell metabolism experiments suggested that worms that were fed glucose as part of their diet lived for a shorter amount of time than those who never consumed it, according to researchers from the University of Jena, Germany.
"If the findings in worms hold for humans, it suggests that, in healthy people, glucose may have negative effects on life span," said researcher Michael Ristow.
The findings add to a body of evidence making manufacturers and consumers alike wary of the basic ingredient, which has led to many companies reformulating their products with sweeteners such as Xylitol.
Ristow said that this study will be particularly pertinent in the UK and the US, where added sugar accounts for 15 per cent to 20 per cent of daily calories, adding that: "the breakdown of that sugar always generates glucose.
At the beginning of the experiment, scientists initially used a chemical to block the worms' ability to process glucose.
This produced a metabolic state resembling that of a human being who had restricted his glucose consumption.
After removing any glucose from the worms diet, the scientists observed that their life span increased by up to 20 percent, Ristow reported, noting that the observed gain translated to a human lifespan would mean an additional 15 years.
According to a recent Datamonitor survey, consumers in both the US and UK are increasingly concerned about the amount of sugar, fat and salt in their diets.
The survey of over 5,000 consumers found that people have started taking greater self-responsibility towards maintaining their health, and 68 per cent of respondents cited reducing sugar intake as important, while 64 per cent said controlling calories was important.
Consumers are also checking food and drink labels with greater regularity, said Datamonitor .
"With increased emphasis on the nutritional value of food and drink, it is only natural that consumers will devote greater time to studying labels and packaging of food and drink to assess the content of the product," sated Hughes. "No wonder the debate over food labeling continues to escalate."
The report found that more than half of US and European shoppers checked nutritional labels more regularly to make food and drink choices in 2006.
UK consumers topped the list, with 60 percent of respondents reporting that they checked labels. US (58 per cent), Spanish (57 per cent) and Italian (54 per cent) consumers followed close behind. The least likely to check labels were Germans, with only 37 percent saying they examine the nutritional content of products.
According to Hughes, nutritional labels are generally seen as: "a positive and even necessary piece of information." "Shoppers will become even more engaged with their food and drink making decisions based on greater levels of detail," he added.