Published on: October 21, 2014
by Colleen Stoxen for Washington Post:
You knew that drinking sugary sodas could lead to obesity, diabetes and heart attacks — but it may also speed up your body’s aging process.
As you age, caps on the end your chromosomes called telomeres shrink. In the past several years, researchers at the University of California at San Francisc, have analyzed stored DNA from more than 5,300 healthy Americans in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from about 14 years ago. And they discovered that those who drank more pop tended to have shorter telomeres.
The shorter the telomere, the harder it is for a cell to regenerate — and so, the body ages.
“We think we can get away with drinking lots of soda as long as we are not gaining weight, but this suggests that there is an invisible pathway that leads to accelerated aging, regardless of weight,” said psychiatry professor Elissa Epel, senior author of the study.
According to the research, drinking a 20-ounce bubbly beverage every day is linked to 4.6 years of additional aging. You get the same effect by smoking, said UCSF postdoctoral fellow Cindy Leung, lead author of the study. About 21 percent in the sample said they drank at least that much soda each day. However, researchers say, a link does not mean causation.
Scientists found no link between cell aging and drinking diet sodas or fruit juices. But Epel said the results might be different with more modern data.
The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Older people who report greater levels of social engagement have more robust gray matter in regions of the brain relevant in dementia, according to new research led by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of...
In a new study, University of Nebraska–Lincoln sociologist Marc A. Garcia explored how educational attainment can benefit cognitive health in later life, and whether there are differences in its benefits among minorities. Garcia and his co-authors...
A genetic variation in some people may be associated with cognitive decline that can’t be explained by deposits of two key proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid β and tau, according to a study...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.