A recurring story throughout news websites this week is a study about a link found between sugar-sweetened soda/pop and aging. The study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that individuals who drank pop frequently generally had shorter telomeres in their white blood cells than did individuals who did not drink as much pop. Telomeres are found at the end of chromosomes and are critical in cell division. The length of telomeres is believed to be linked to the health of the cell. Researchers believe that shorter telomeres indicate that an individual is less healthy and aging faster.
The study noted that telomere length did not appear to be affected by consumptions of diet pop or 100% fruit juices. The study also reported that their results indicated 1 in 5 adults drink a 20-ounce pop daily and found that this consumption “could equal 4.6 years of extra aging.”
Simply put, this means that they found a link between sugar-sweetened pop and premature aging in some cells in the body, which, according to the article, puts individuals at risk for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. This article compared the premature aging from drinking pop to that seen in individuals who smoke.
How much sugar is safe? The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to no more than 150 calories a day for men and 100 calories a day for women (one 12-ounce can of regular pop has between 140-170 calories and about 40 grams of sugar).
Kimball, Henry. (2014, October). That sweet drink may age you. CNN Health.
Brittany Best, BA
WKPIC Doctoral Intern