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“Regular consumption of sugary soda might influence disease development,” experts

Posted:  Thursday, October 23, 2014

A hot sunny day is sure incentive enough to open a can of bubbly soda. High on sugar, this popular refreshment has been implicated in increasing the risk of obesity and other lifestyle ailments.

Now, scientists from the University of California have found that consuming 20 ounces of soda (approx. 2 cans) every day could cause premature aging of immune cells and consequently increase vulnerability to chronic diseases, similar to the effects of smoking.

The scientists found the detrimental effect of soda consumption by analysing the stored DNA of 5,309 individuals who were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999 to 2002. The participants were aged 20 to 65 years old, with no prior history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

The average consumption of sugar-sweetened soda among the participants was 12 ounces and 21% of the participants reported drinking at least 20 ounces (590 ml) of sugary soda every day. The scientists published the study findings in the American Journal of Public Health.

According to the scientists, participants who consumed larger amounts of sugary soda had shorter telomeres, a protective DNA that caps the ends of cell chromosomes in the white blood cells (WBCs). They estimated that consuming 20 ounces of soda every day was associated with around 4.6 years of additional biological aging, based on how telomere length shortens with chronological aging.

Shortening of the telomere length is a normal part of aging. Earlier studies have found that the length of telomeres in WBCs is associated with lifespan and that shorter telomeres are linked to tissue damage, inflammation, insulin resistance, and chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease and diabetes.

Participants consuming 2 cans of soda reported additional shortening of telomere length. Although seen in adults, the scientists believe that soda consumption could shorten telomere length in children as well.

Talking about the study, the scientists said, “It is critical to understand both dietary factors that may shorten telomeres, as well as dietary 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."

A can of soda harmlessly features as a regular accompaniment to many snacks and it does not evoke much concern. The negative effect of sugared soda on weight is much spoken about. However, the present study highlights its effect at the DNA level. Thus, by simply altering lifestyle, chronic conditions can be avoided.

For study details:-Click Here!