Soda Ages Our Cells (And Is Just Plain Bad for Us)

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
January 19, 2018

Liquid sugar — soda, sweetened coffees, and even fruit juice — is a serious health risk. Soda ages our cells and is linked to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and mental decline.

How bad is soda for you? Plenty.

In the long list of the dangers of drinking soda, we have a new worry: shorter telomeres.

It turns out that soda ages our cells. Telomeres are protein caps at the end of chromosomes that keep them stable. These caps tend to shorten as we age, and they’re linked to the major diseases of aging.

Rigorous exercise, for example, helps keep telomeres young. Sugary soda, we’re learning, does the opposite. That shouldn’t be a surprise if you know the health risks of soda.


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Soda makes you fat

The obesity epidemic has come at around the same time Americans began consuming more high fructose corn syrup, often in liquids. In a study of children, each daily serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage increases your chance of obesity by 60 percent.

Sugary drinks are extra calories. When you eat starchy foods, your body gets a hit of glucose, which normally triggers the hunger hormone ghrelin to fall — in other words, you feel full. But sugary drinks instead supply fructose, which doesn’t seem to send the same signal. One study found that you’ll take in 17 percent more calories if you drink sweetened sofa compared to eating jelly beans.

Also, when you take in too much fructose — most commonly through sweetened drinks — your body is likely to store fat around the belly and organs, the most dangerous kind of fat.

Soda increases your chance of a chronic illness

Just one can of sweetened soda a day increases your chances of type 2 diabetes. Soda is linked to heart disease, gout, and some cancers — including cancer of the pancreas, uterus, and colon.

The dangers of drinking soda may even include mental decline with age, according to research showing how sugary drinks tinker with brain proteins. In data from the famous Framingham Heart Study, researchers saw that people who drank sugary beverages more often had poorer memories and smaller brains.

Sugary soda is terrible for your teeth, combining acid with sugar.

It can substitute for emotional growth

Many people consume soda — and other junk foods — for soothing when they’re sad or anxious or for stimulation when they’re bored, even though it’s bad for them. They’ve learned a dangerous way to handle their emotions. Meditation or exercise would also help them manage emotions, and be a good health move.

Finally, in exchange for running the many health risks of soda, you get no essential nutrients. You won’t get fiber, vitamins, minerals, or really anything healthful.

Will diet soda solve your problem? Not really. According to one study, a daily diet soda upped your chances of stroke and dementia almost three times. For some people, artificial sweeteners can make it harder to lose weight.


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April 09, 2020

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN