Soda May Age You as Much as Smoking

Soda May Age You as Much as Smoking

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]
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5 comments

  • First and foremost, this research fails to prove causation, yet jumps to misleading and alarmist conclusions. This fact was clearly emphasized in a recent critique featured in Slate magazine (http://slate.me/10yvm5I), which said: “The new paper doesn’t show that the long-term health effects of soda and tobacco are comparable. It doesn’t prove that Coca-Cola kills people. And it doesn’t estimate the effects of drinking Pepsi on anyone’s lifespan. It only claims to find a subtle difference between soda lovers’ blood cells and those of everybody else. The shallow write-ups and inveigling headlines are insulting, and possibly injurious.”

    Second, as we’ve consistently said, it’s education, not regulation, that can change health behaviors in a meaningful way. Our industry is doing its part on this front via our Balance Calories Initiative, which aims to cut beverage calorie intake by 20% by 2025. We’re also promoting the key message that balancing all calories with physical activity is important to optimal health – this applies not only to beverages, but to our overall diet as well.
    -American Beverage Association

    Reply
  • So what you ACTUALLY mean to say here is that exces SUGAR causes cellular damage and ageing. It has nothing to do with the “soda” part of it.

    Reply
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