Sodas can age you as much as smoking!

Posted on 01 Jan 00:00

Recent studies have revealed the negative affects that sodas can have on your health.

We all know that sugary sweet sodas aren't the healthiest option, however according to a study of 5,309 healthy U.S. adults 20 to 65 years old published in the American Journal of Public Health. Sugar-sweetened soda consumption leads to shorter telomere length.

Telomeres are the rod-like strands of protein that protect the ends of our chromosomes inside each cell and shorten with every cell division. Telomere shortening is a protective mechanism against improper cell division – when the telomeres reach a critical shortened length, this signals the cells to self-destruct.

Telomere length is protected by multivitamins, as shown in an earlier woman’s study, and the authors attributed this to the vitamin E, C and other antioxidants in the vitamins.
Elizabeth Blackburn, who won the Nobel Prize for her work with telomeres, is one of the authors of the study showing a link between sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and telomere shortening. No link was found with fruit juice or diet soda consumption and shorter telomeres.

However, the telomere shortening from sugary beverages is equal to the shortening caused by cigarette smoking seen in earlier studies.

The authors of the study concluded that “regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence poor metabolic health through accelerated cell aging.” They estimated that the telomeres shortening caused by sugary drinks ages you by approximately two years. Drinking an 8 ounce daily serving of soda equals 1.9 years of aging and consuming a 20 ounce daily serving ages you by 4.6 years. The authors point out that the 4.6 years of aging is identical to the telomere loss caused by cigarette smoking.