Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco have published a new study in the American Journal of Public Health that takes aim at the $61 billion dollar-a-year soft drink industry, according to a CBS News report. It’s the culmination of five years of research to learn whether soda speeds up the aging process.
Using a sample of 5,300 healthy adults, researchers discovered that people who drink more sugar-sweetened beverages have shorter telomeres (the end part of chromosomes). The shorter the telomeres, the less a cell is able to regenerate, thus aging the body and raising the risk of diseases 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 researcher Elissa Epel.
Most people think they can get away with drinking soda as long as they aren’t gaining weight, but the new study found that sugary drinks may be causing an “invisible pathway” to accelerated aging. Researchers found no link to cell aging from diet sodas and fruit juices.