Seriously? One daily soda ages us? Amazing. From Medical Daily:
While consuming sugary soft drinks is often associated with a higher risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular death, and certain types of cancer, new research suggests that it can also shorten our lifespan. A recent study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has revealed that drinking soda frequently can shorten the length of telomeres within white blood cells, which can be used as a predictor for human lifespan.
“Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence disease development, not only by straining the body’s metabolic control of sugars, but also through accelerated cellular aging of tissues,” Dr. Elissa Epel, professor of psychiatry at UCSF and senior author of the study, said in a statement.
Epel and her colleagues gathered data using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1999 to 2002. The study’s sample included 5,309 U.S. adults between the ages of 20 and 65 with no history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Participants were asked to recall their diet in the past 24 hours, and researchers used DNA samples to measure telomere length. On average, participants consumed 12 ounces of soda, while around 21 percent reported drinking at least 20 ounces of soda each day.
UCSF researchers determined that drinking 20 ounces of soda a day was linked to 4.6 years of additional biological aging. This conclusion was made by assessing the way telomere length shortens with chronological age. The effect drinking soda had on telomere shortening was comparable to smoking or, in the opposite, anti-aging direction, regular exercise. Previous studies have also associated telomere shortening with chronic diseases of aging, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
“This is the first demonstration that soda is associated with telomere shortness,” Epel added. “This finding held regardless of age, race, income, and education level. Telomere shortening starts long before disease onset. Further, although we only studied adults here, it is possible that soda consumption is associated with telomere shortening in children, as well.”