Drinks Containing Sugar May Accelerate Age of DNA


A new study released from University of California-San Francisco research scientists reveals that people who drink large amounts of beverages containing large sugar amounts may be hastily accelerating the age of their DNA cells. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, approximately 50 percent of Americans consume sugary beverages every single day. Approximately 1 out of 4 Americans admit to taking in more than 200 calories a day from soda alone.

The scientific researchers behind this study on age acceleration of DNA cells claim that ingesting sugary beverages on a consistent basis can quickly break down the cells of the body, similar to the outcomes smoking has on the physical body. According to this study’s research data, those who consume sugary beverages are inclined to have shorter DNA caps known as telemores at the end of their white blood cell chromosomes. The length of telemores are associated with the length of a human’s lifespan. The shorter the telemores are, the more likely tissues are to break down and chronic diseases to occur.

Professor of Psychiatry Elissa Epel and San Francisco postdoctoral fellow Cindy Leung were the lead authors behind  the results of this study done on the effects of sugar and its relation to shortened telemores. The researchers discovered that their findings held no matter the person’s age or race. While they admit that only adults were studied, the implications could hold just as true for children as well.

The new research indicates that regular consumption of drinks containing sugar accelerates the age of DNA tissues and influences rapid development of  disease. Shortened telemores can be linked to such chronic conditions as inflammation, diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer. Reducing or eliminating the amount  partaken in of drinks containing high amounts of sugar, specifically soda, may slow down the speed of disease’s onset.

This new information may add fuel for health legislators and health activists to limit the availability of these types of beverages, especially to children. Obesity in children has been a concern in the United States for quite some time now. This research being done with shortened telemores will help American better understand, fight, and treat the obesity issue that is considered to be an epidemic in this country by some experts.

Scientific researchers evaluated the data collected on 5,309 healthy people ages 20-65 years of age in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that took place during 1999 to 2002. Approximately 21 percent of the respondents divulged that they consumed 20 ounces of soda daily. The researchers calculated that this much soda consumed daily translates to a rate of about 4.6 years of biological aging.

The full details of the study were published in the American Journal of Public Health. The authors admit the scientific  research done with this study so far cannot positively confirm that drinking beverages containing sugar is a definitive cause of shortened telemores. Other dietary factors may contribute to telemore shortening and the onset of disease. However, they have evidence that drinks containing sugar do appear to accelerate the aging of DNA cells. Professor Epel will be conducting a new study soon that will track participants in real-time to better track the effects high sugar consumption has in aging cells.

By Valerie Bordeau


Medical News Today

Health Central

Science 2.0

Photo by Taylor Bennett-Creativecommons Flickr

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