A high sugar diet early in life causes flies to die sooner - and it may just be the same for humans, a new university study has found.
An international study involving Monash University found that when flies were raised on a sugary diet, they lived shorter lives, even if their diet was improved later in life.
The action of a gene called FOXO is inhibited in flies given a high-sugar diet in early life, causing long-term effects, according to a study published on Wednesday in Cell Reports.
The FOXO gene is important for longevity in many species, including yeast, flies, worms - and humans.
The research team compared the lifespans of female flies fed a healthy diet containing five per cent sugar with that of other flies given eight times that amount.
All were given a healthy diet after three weeks, but the flies that started on a high-sugar diet died seven per cent earlier on average.
Monash ARC Future fellow Dr Matt Piper says the study is further evidence excess sugar in diets is detrimental to health.
"The findings improve our understanding of how changes in diet and gene expression affect the speed of ageing," he says in a statement on Wednesday.