Sugary sodas may lead to telomere shortening, according to a study appearing in the American Journal of Public Health.
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, and elsewhere conducted a cross-sectional study of telomere length, as a gauge of healthy aging, and consumption of sugar-sweetened fizzy drinks. They examined the telomeres of more than 5,300 adults in the US without history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease and correlated telomere length to diet.
Soda consumption, they report, was linked with slightly shorter telomeres, while there was no link between drinking juice, diet soda, or non-carbonated sweetened drinks and shorter telomeres.
"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 aging of tissues," UCSF's Elissa Epel tells the Guardian. She cautions that she and her colleagues only found an association between the two, not causality.