Bad news for soda drinkers – scientific research shows that drinking too much soda can shorten your life by 4.4 years!
This recent study was done by University of California researchers. The study included 5,300 healthy participants between the ages of 20 and 65. They looked at sugar (or HFCS) sweetened soda, diet soda, sweetened non-carbonated beverages and fruit juice … and the effect on telomere length. Do you remember what I taught you about telomeres? If not, please review it so the rest of this makes sense. Now, each cell has its own DNA with telomere end caps. For study purposes, the telomeres in white blood cells were used (from a simple blood test). Remember that we are made up of trillions of cells, each with our DNA and each with telomeres protecting the DNA. As the cells go, so we go!
Here are some of the study findings:
● Each 8 ounce serving of sweetened soda was associated with shortening of telomere lengths equivalent to roughly 1.8 years shorter life span for the cells.
● Over 20% of the participants drank 20 or more ounces of soda per day which equated to 4.4 years of additional premature cellular aging.
● No telomere shortening was not found with diet soda.
● No telomere shortening was found with sweetened non-carbonated beverages.
● Drinking 100% fruit juice improved telomere length slightly.
OK, so what should we make of this information? Well, drinking sweetened sodas causes cells to age prematurely. Drinking diet sodas don’t shorten telomeres (that’s good) … but, we know that artificial sweeteners used in diet soda is not good for us for other reasons. (SIDE NOTE: diet soda sweetened with stevia make for great soda choices. The brand that is easiest to find is Zevia and there are tons of different flavor choices.) Our children drink sodas too and, although the study was done on adults, we can certainly extend the suspicion that the sweetened sodas could shorten their telomeres too.
The bottom line …. Don’t go overboard in drinking sweetened sodas! And help your children with their soda intake as much as you can! Heck, controlling ourselves is hard enough, but controlling the older kids …. that will be a challenge! Of course, kids are the only ones to want to be older .. quicker!!