By Steve Born
Recent research confirms just how unhealthy sugary soft drinks really are. In the recently published study involving 5,300 men and women, drinking a single 20-oz. serving of soda daily was associated with nearly 5 years of added aging!
Findings published in the American Journal of Public Health revealed a link between drinking sugar-sweetened sodas and shorter telomeres within white blood cells. Previous research had shown a link between the length of telomeres within white blood cells and human lifespan.
Positioned at the ends of chromosomes, telomeres (tell-oh-meers) are made up of DNA strands. Telomeres are needed for healthy cell reproduction and, similar to the hard plastic tips on shoelaces, they protect the ends of chromosomes from damage. Short telomeres have been associated with oxidative damage, inflammation, and chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
The "soda/telomere study" included more than 5,300 participants - men and women between the ages of 20 and 65 with no history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes. After analyzing the participants' diets, University of California scientists noted that increased sugar-sweetened soda intake was associated with decreased telomere length. Consuming just 20 ounces of soda every day was associated with approximately 4.6 years of additional biological aging!
Senior study author, Elissa Epel, Ph.D., summarizes, "Regular consumption of sugar- sweetened sodas might influence disease development" by straining the body's metabolic control of sugars, and by accelerating cellular aging of tissues. "This is the first demonstration that soda is associated with telomere shortness. Telomere shortening starts long before disease onset. Further, although we only studied adults, it is possible that soda consumption is associated with telomere shortening in children, as well."
Hammer Quick Tip: Refined, simple sugars in any form are bad for you. For a detailed account of the many health problems caused by high sugar consumption, read Suicide by Sugar by Nancy Appleton, Ph.D. and G.N. Jacobs. Unlike many widely available sports energy products, Hammer Nutrition fuels, including Hammer Gel, HEED, Perpetuem, and Sustained Energy, contain no refined simple sugars - only healthy complex carbohydrates and natural sweeteners such as stevia and xylitol. HN