For some Greenlanders, eating sugar is healthy


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Imagine you can exchange broccoli for sweets, Ben & Jerry’s, or other sweets to achieve the same health benefits. This is not a fantasy for about 2-3 percent of Greenland’s population.

Two copies of the genetic variant make it so that they absorb sugar Different from other people.

“With an adult green lander Genetic variation It has low BMI, weight, body fat percentage, and cholesterol levels and is generally fairly healthy. It’s low in belly fat and it may be easier to get 6 packs. It is amazing and surprising that genetic variation has a very beneficial effect, “said Anders Albrechtsen, a professor of biology at the University of Copenhagen.

With colleagues from the University of Copenhagen, the University of Southern Denmark, and many research and public institutions in Greenland, Professor Albrechtsen analyzed data from 6,551 adult Greenlandians and conducted experiments in mice.

The results show that carriers of genetic variation have what is known as sucrase-isomaltase deficiency. This means that there is a unique way to metabolize sugar in the intestine. Simply put, it does not absorb normal sugar in the bloodstream like people without genetic variation. Instead, the sugar goes directly to the intestines.

“Here, gut bacteria convert sugars to short-chain fatty acids called acetates, which previous studies have shown to reduce appetite, increase metabolism, and boost the immune system. It’s most likely the mechanism that’s happening in, “explains Met K. .. Andersen, assistant professor at the Center for Metabolism Research, University of Copenhagen, and lead author of the study.

Why genetic variation is widespread among green landers

The reason for this widespread genetic variation among Greenlanders is due to a diet that has stood out from the diets of other parts of the world for thousands of years.

“This is probably because Greenlander didn’t have much sugar in his diet. Most of the time he ate fish, whales, seals, reindeer meat and fat. One crawberry sneaks in here and there. It may have been, but the sugar content in the diet is kept to a minimum, “says Anders Albrechtsen.

He added that this caused frequent genetic variation because it did not need to absorb sugar in the bloodstream rapidly.

Genetic variation is severe for children

This variation has obvious health benefits for adult green landers, but it is problematic for children.

“Young carriers of variation have a negative effect because they absorb different types of sugar. For them, consuming sugar causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, and abdominal distension. As they get older, they get diarrhea, abdominal pain, and abdominal distension. Gut bacteria Gradually get used to sugar and learn how to convert it into energy, “explains Torben Hansen, a physician and professor at the Foundation for Basal Metabolism Research at the University of Copenhagen.

He and his team hope that the results of the new research can one day lay the groundwork for developing new drugs that may be used to treat cardiovascular disease and obesity.

“We find that genetic variation improves the balance of fat in the bloodstream, loses weight, and reduces cardiovascular disease. In principle, all if we can develop a drug that inhibits the scrase-isomartase gene. A person can have an equally strong health profile, “he concludes.

Mouse diet experiment

  • Beyond the development of health data from 6,551 Greenlanders, researchers supplemented their study with dietary experiments in mice. They sought to investigate what was happening in the intestines of people with genetic variation.
  • To do so, they examined two groups of mice. One group artificially suppressed their ability to absorb sugar, similar to the genetic variation found in green landers. The second group showed normal sugar absorption.
  • Their results showed that mice with suppressed abilities gained only half the weight of mice in other groups when they gained free access to a fat and sugar diet.This confirms the researcher’s analysis of health data showing that genetic variation provides different ranges. Health benefitsIncludes weight reduction and BMI.

Number health benefits

Researchers’ results show that on average, Greenlander, who has two copies of the genetic variation known as sucrase-isomaltase, does the following:

  • Low BMI, about. –2kg / m²
  • Light weight, about -4.8 kg
  • Low body fat percentage, about -3.3 percentage points
  • Low in blood triglycerides (risk markers for cardiovascular disease and cholesterol)-0.3 mmol / L

The study was published in Gastroenterology..

Genetic changes can cause obesity among green landers

For more information:
Mette K. Andersen et al, Loss of sucrase-isomaltase function increases acetic acid levels in the Greenland cohort and improves metabolic health. Gastroenterology (2021). DOI: 10.1053 / j.gastro.2021.12.236

Quote: For some Greenlanders, eating sugar is healthy (2021, 22nd December) to December 2021 Get on 22nd

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