For many Americans, drinking sugary soda is a habit too difficult to kick – even with the prominent dangers that come along with it such as obesity, liver damage, increased risk of diabetes, increased risk of heart disease, insulin resistance, dental damage, the addictive nature, and lack of nutrients.
However, new study, performed by UC San Francisco, may finally provide millions of devote soda drinkers with the motivation needed to help quit.
These researchers found habitual soda drinking may shorten your life span by an average of 5 years.
Specifically, this study discovered that telomeres – the protective units of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes in cells – were shorter in survey participants who reported drinking more soda.
Soda's Effect On Telomeres
“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,” said Elissa Epel, PhD, professor of psychiatry at UCSF and senior author of the study.
“This is the first demonstration that soda is associated with telomere shortness,” Epel said. “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.”
Based on the way telomere length shortens on average with chronological age, the UCSF researchers calculated that daily consumption of a 20-ounce soda was equivalent to an average of 4.6 years of telomere shortening.
Soda: Almost As Bad As Smoking?
The researchers of the study even said that drinking soda has equally detrimental effects on telomeres as smoking.
20oz of soda is less than only two cans of any popular soft drink, an amount surpassed by most religious drinkers.
If the evidence against eliminating or at least cutting back on soda wasn’t already enough, this is sure to increase awareness further.
We would love to know from Peak Health Advocate readers your experience with eliminating soda from your diet, how you achieved it, and the effects this lifestyle change has made.
Please let us know by leaving a comment in the comments section below.