On a hot summer day, how do you quench your thirst? By drinking water? Or maybe an ice-cold glass of your favourite soft drink? If you choose the latter, you know that soft drinks contain high levels of sugar and it’s not good for your waistline, even though it may give you a boost of energy. Not only is it bad for your waistline, it may cause you to age faster.
Recently scientists at the University of California, San Francisco discovered that telomeres are responsible for this. Telomeres are repeated DNA sequences found at the ends of chromosomes. They protect DNA from being damaged. As they become shorter with each cell division, the cell may stop dividing and die. In fact, there’s a strong connection between short telomeres and cellular aging.
How did the researchers find that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked with shorter telomeres? They questioned participants about their diet and lifestyle and then measured the length of the telomeres. They also calculated the amount of sugar from the beverages each participant consumed. After factoring all the component of the study together, Cindy Leung, the lead researcher, concluded that regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages inflicted 1.9 extra years on the age of your cells.
This new research adds to the growing body of knowledge of negative effects of sugar-sweetened beverages on our health. Sugar-sweetened beverages such as energy drinks, fruit-flavoured drinks, soda, and sports drinks are one of the major sources of added sugar in our diets. Consuming too much sugar is bad for our health. It’s associated with heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and stroke. This information is commonly known by the general public. What the general public may not know about the other effects of drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is that it speeds up the aging process of cells.
Here’s a video on the effects of soft drinks on our health uploaded by SAMIMY:
In short, choosing to drink that sugar-sweetened beverage is really not a good idea as it increases risk of diabetes and heart disease and now, it will speed up the aging of your cells. So think twice before picking up that bottle or can of soda and opt for water or tea instead.
– Elice Xie