Are you a frequent soda drinker? No? How about lemonade? Well if you are stop now!
According to researchers who have studied the impact of soft drinks in more than 5,000 people sugary soda drinks such as cola and lemonade may be linked to accelerated DNA ageing. These sugary drinks have been under fire from activists who believed that these drinks contribute to obesity and type-2 diabetes. However this is the first study to suggest a link with ageing.
The Study on Soft Drinks
Published in the American Journal of Public Health, the study asked 5,309 healthy adults aged between 20 and 65 about their consumption of these drinks and examined the DNA from each participant’s white blood cells. According to Professor Elissa Epel, of the University of California, San Francisco, “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.”
The team found that telomeres—protective DNA caps on the end of chromosomes—were shorter in people who reportedly drank more sugary drinks. Telomeres are repetitive sections at the end of chromosomes that get shorter each time cells divide. They act as a “genetic ticking clock”, and in the past have been associated with human lifespan as well as the development of some forms of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Other studies have suggested a link between telomere length and lifestyle factors such as smoking and psychological stress. However, Epel stressed that the study only showed association and did not prove that sugary drink consumption called ageing. If high soda consumption was to blame, it may be due to the huge rush of sugars into the blood after a drink…, said Epel.
The research group planned to address questions related to this study in further studies where they might use a short-term diet high in sugar to see if they can induce effects associated with telomere shortening.