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Scientists who study aging love a certain worm, C. elegans, for its two-week life span; the Cecil Beaton-eers who named it clearly love the stylish curves it makes as it winds its way, microscopically, through the mud. They double the life span of C. elegans by injuring a particular insulin-related gene. The doubled life is a good one—the final two weeks are not spent drooling in a nursing home but rather in attractive, energetic middle age.

But add the tiniest amount of sugar to the diet of C. elegans and it's back to a two-week life. The resulting theories—that calorie-restriction diets extend life because they limit sugar, that sugar ages you terribly—made sense to me.

Researcher Cynthia Kenyon, Ph.D., who explains these theories to beauty editors, eats little sugar. (Or carbs. Or alcohol.) We watched her like heavily mascaraed hawks as we sat down to lunch after her talk. There was lots of salad. No one touched the cupcakes. We felt virtuous until we glanced at Dr. Kenyon's plate, where untouched potatoes from the most delicious of the salads languished, uneaten.

It is super-not-easy to eat less sugar. We were hungry. When this looks-pretty-on-literally-all-people gloss-balm from Cover Girl appeared, vanilla scented and cushily textured, I for one was an easy mark. Life with a little less can be sweet—even, dare I say it, elegant.

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