It’s no secret that fast food can doom your health. But researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found some truly frightening physiological developments that accompany those burgers, fries, chicken wings and sweet soft drinks we devour so greedily.
Turns out that those greasy calories and sugary drinks don’t just add inches to your waist, they actually induce your cells to self-destruct in a kind of cellular suicide. Overwhelmed by toxic food, small strands of RNA in the cells’ nuclei that normally build proteins begin creating cellular damage. That damage makes you vulnerable to conditions like diabetes.
This damage can threaten your life, especially when the cells that kill themselves are cells in the heart muscle. Heart failure eventually results.
Much of this has been a surprise to researchers.
“When we set out to find genes causing cellular damage due to excess fat, we were expecting to find genes that code for proteins,” says researcher Jean E. Schaffer. “Instead, we identified an entirely new function for three small nucleolar RNAs. Unrelated to their well-defined role in the cell’s protein-making machinery, we discovered they participate in how cells go on to die from overload of nutrients.”