We’ll admit it. FoodFacts.com is always pleased to discover additional reasons for people to stay away from soda. Terrible ingredients. Meaningless nutritional value. We can think of so many better ways to quench thirst than with carbonated chemicals. So whenever we run across information that gives us another great excuse to find those better ways, we’re pretty quick to share that news with our community. Today we found one of the most important pieces of information we’ve seen to date.
A first-of-its-kind study looked at whether America’s thirst for soda speeds up how the body’s cells age.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco used a sample of 5,300 healthy adults. Doctor Elissa Epel worked on the study for five years.
“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 Doctor Epel.
Epel’s team discovered that in people who drank more sugar-sweetened beverages, the ends of their chromosomes, known as telomeres, were shorter. The shorter the telomere, the less a cell can regenerate, aging the body, and raising the risk of disease and early death.
“This finding is alarming because it suggests that soda may be aging us, in ways we are not even aware of,” said Doctor Epel.
Researchers found no link in cell aging, however, when drinking diet sodas and fruit juices. Concerned about possible health effects, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg lost a high-profile court battle to ban large sodas there. He’s now supporting a measure on the November ballot in Berkeley, California that would tack on a one-cent-per-ounce tax on soda distributors.
Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia currently tax sodas sold in vending machines. But helped by ad campaigns from various groups, soda companies are on a four-year winning streak at the state house: 30 bills to levy or raise taxes on sugary drinks have all failed.
The American beverage association would not do an interview today about the study, but pointed out the researchers did not find a conclusive link between soda and cell aging.
We understand that the link isn’t conclusive and that more research is certainly needed. We’re pretty sure, though, that just about everyone we know would gladly make some small dietary changes to slow down their bodies’ aging process. Staying away from soda isn’t a difficult proposition. There are so many reasons it’s a worthwhile decision. Go ahead, give it a try — you’re body will thank you for it!