Drinking soda beverages on a daily basis could be as harmful to your health and affect your body’s ageing process as much as cigarettes, new research suggests.
Researchers have found that daily consumption of a 20-ounce soda was linked to almost five years of increased aging, according to a study from the University of California at San Francisco and published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Over five years, they analyzed stored DNA from over 5,300 healthy Americans in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES.) They looked at the length of telomeres, which are attached to the ends of human chromosomes. If a telomere is short it makes it harder for a cell to regenerate and can cause ageing.
It was discovered that people who drank more soda were more likely to have shorter telomeres than those who do not drink soda and this could indicate a link between soda consumption and ageing. The rate of increased ageing was found to be comparable to the effects smoking cigarettes have on aging.
Earlier this year, New York lost its bid to ban oversize sodas in a ruling by the state’s highest court. Each day around half of people in the U.S. consume sugary drinks; 1 in 4 get at least 200 calories from such drinks; and 5% get at least 567 calories—equivalent to four cans of soda, according data collected by Harvard School of Public Health.[Sources: AJPH, HSPH]