Background: Today, high chronic intake of added sugars is frequent, which leads to inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance. These 3 factors could reduce meal-induced stimulation of muscle protein synthesis and thus aggravate the age-related loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia).
Objectives: Our aims were to determine if added sugars could accelerate sarcopenia and to assess the capacity of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents to prevent this.
Methods: For 5 mo, 16-mo-old male rats were starch fed (13% sucrose and 49% wheat starch diet) or sucrose fed (62% sucrose and 0% wheat starch diet) with or without rutin (5 g/kg diet), vitamin E (4 times), vitamin A (2 times), vitamin D (5 times), selenium (10 times), and zinc (+44%) (R) supplementation. We measured the evolution of body composition and inflammation, plasma insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-I) concentration and total antioxidant status, insulin sensitivity (oral-glucose-tolerance test), muscle weight, superoxide dismutase activity, glutathione concentration, and in vivo protein synthesis rates.
Results: Sucrose-fed rats lost significantly more lean body mass (-8.1% vs. -5.4%, respectively) and retained more fat mass (+0.2% vs. -33%, respectively) than starch-fed rats. Final muscle mass was 11% higher in starch-fed rats than in sucrose-fed rats. Sucrose had little effect on inflammation, oxidative stress, and plasma IGF-I concentration but reduced the insulin sensitivity index (divided by 2). Meal-induced stimulation of muscle protein synthesis was significantly lower in sucrose-fed rats (+7.3%) than in starch-fed rats (+22%). R supplementation slightly but significantly reduced oxidative stress and increased muscle protein concentration (+4%) but did not restore postprandial stimulation of muscle protein synthesis.
Conclusions: High chronic sucrose intake accelerates sarcopenia in older male rats through an alteration of postprandial stimulation of muscle protein synthesis. This effect could be explained by a decrease of insulin sensitivity rather than by changes in plasma IGF-I, inflammation, and/or oxidative stress.
Keywords: antioxidant; fructose; insulin sensitivity; protein synthesis; rats; sarcopenia.
© 2015 American Society for Nutrition.