Sugary drinks may cause us to age as much as cigarettes do

By Matt Bernard

Sugary drinks may cause us to age as much as cigarettes do
Recent research has revealed negative effects that the consumption of soft drinks can have on our ageing process.

While we are all aware of the health connotations involved with the excessive consumption of sugary drinks, most commonly obesity and type-1 diabetes, it appears that increased ageing of our body’s immune system may also be another thing for us to consider before cracking open that can.

A study by Professor Elissa Epel of the University of California, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health, examined the data of over 5000 participants on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from roughly 14 years ago.

Subjects who consumed a can of soft drink once a day were found to have shorter telomeres – which are small caps that sit on the end of our chromosomes.

Telomeres naturally decrease in size during our life as we age from the process of cell division, shortened telomeres can lead to common age-related disorders such as heart attack and certain cancers.

“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 ageing tissues,” said Epel.

Colleague of Epel’s, Dr Cindy Leung, commented about the study: “ it is critical to understand both dietry factors that may shorten telomeres, as well as dietry factors that may lengthen telomeres… Here it appeared that the only beverage consumption that had a measurable negative association with telomere length was consumption of sugared soda.”

Unlike smoking cigarettes there was no found link between soft drink and the physical ageing of our cells.

While we should all be able to reward ourselves with a sugary hit a couple times throughout the week, it is important not to let these treats slip into our daily routines. What better time than now to hide that sugary can and pick up a bottle of water.


Print Recipe


Let us keep you up to date with our weekly MiNDFOOD e-newsletters which include the weekly menu plan, health and news updates or tempt your taste buds with the MiNDFOOD Daily Recipe. 

Member Login