Drinking Sugary Sodas Can Have the Same Effect as Smoking
If Pepsi, Coke, and other sugary sodas are part of your daily diet, you’re doing a lot more than quenching a thirst. Sugary carbonated drinks have actually been linked to shorter life spans and aging-related diseases like cancer.
Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco found that drinking a 20-ounce soda every day accelerates aging by about 4.6 years, the same effect as smoking regularly. More than 5,300 healthy Americans of all ages were surveyed.
Consuming 15-17 teaspoons of sugar in a 20 oz. drink within a few seconds is “uniquely toxic to metabolism,” says Professor Elissa Epel, lead author of the study in an interview with CBS San Francisco. She and her team found a link between consuming sugary sodas and shorter telomeres, the ends of the chromosomes in our DNA.
As we age or ingest toxic materials, our cells divide more often, and the telomeres get shorter. When they get too short, the cells can no longer divide and die off, and our ability to regenerate decreases. A high number of shorter telomeres are associated with aging, cancer, and higher risk of death. Some compare telomeres to a bomb fuse.
The researchers found no correlation with shorter telomeres and drinking diet soda and fruit juices, although they warn new studies that focus on these types of drinks may also show negative effects. “The jury is still out,” says Epel about other sugary drinks.