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Aging Too Slowly? Drink Some Sugar

Dec. 1, 2014|438 views
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Are you frustrated that your body is taking too long to age? Do you long to skip the youthful-vigor stage of life and cut straight to the part where you get to experience low energy, aches, pains, stiff joints, excess weight and deteriorating health? Are you simply impatient to get around to dying (who wants to wait for decades and decades, after all!)?

Well, there’s a simple solution. Like millions of other Americans on a fast track to aging, you can simply guzzle sugary soft drinks. Then sit back and wait for the accelerated aging to begin…

Of course, no sane person wants to age more quickly. Most of us are more than a little interested in slowing the aging process, thank you very much. But why, then, do so many people continue to indulge in sugared beverages?

I’ve been reporting for years that sugar is toxic. This notion is gaining ground, and it’s about time. Refusing sugared soft drinks could very well be the single most important thing you can do for your health if you’re a regular drinker.

That’s because sugar in the amounts encountered routinely in the American diet, especially in the form of sugared drinks, is truly toxic in the classic sense of the word. Just so we’re clear, a toxin is defined as: “acting as or having the effect of a poison.” You know what poison means.

Sugar is toxic not only because it encourages obesity—which is, in itself, a very bad thing. No. According to chilling new research, "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," said Elissa Epel, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco, and senior author of the study, in a press release.

The bit about cellular aging is the truly troubling part. Cells contain protective units of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes. These structures are called telomeres. Emerging research has linked the length of these structures to lifespan. Longer telomeres have been associated with longer lifespans. Shorter telomeres appear to signal approaching decline and cellular aging.

Guess what they found in the white blood cells of subjects who reported drinking the most soft drinks? Dramatically shorter telomeres. "It is critical to understand both dietary factors that may shorten telomeres, as well as dietary factors that may lengthen telomeres," Leung said. "Here it appeared that the only beverage consumption that had a measurable negative association with telomere length was consumption of sugared soda.”

Still thirsty for that soda? Try switching to pure, clean water. Or freshly brewed (unsweetened) green tea. Your cells will thank you. And you just might live longer.

Cindy W. Leung, Barbara A. Laraia, Belinda L. Needham, David H. Rehkopf, Nancy E. Adler, Jue Lin, Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Elissa S. Epel. Soda and Cell Aging: Associations Between Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption and Leukocyte Telomere Length in Healthy Adults From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. American Journal of Public Health, 2014; e1 DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302151