Tags: sodas | kill | obesity | diabetes | telomeres | lifespan | longevity

Soda Can Kill You in 7 Ways: Researchers

By    |   Tuesday, 28 October 2014 03:37 PM

 
Many Americans have taken to heart the onslaught of studies indicating that drinking sodas is bad for their health. Consumption has been steadily decreasing during the past decade, and the downward trend continues. A recent Gallup poll found that 63 percent of people "actively" tried to avoid soda compared to only 41 percent in 2002.
 
The average American still drinks gallons of the sweet stuff — an average of 45 gallons a year, and we still drink twice as much as we did 30 years ago. Studies increasingly show its deadly effects, from our expanding waistlines to the epidemic of diabetes sweeping the country. Research published this month by the University at California at San Francisco found even more bad news:  Sugary sodas shorten your life by shortening telomeres, which are the caps that protect DNA by keeping chromosomes from unraveling.  
 
Researchers studied DNA from more than 5,300 volunteers ages 20 to 65. They found that drinking 20 ounces of soda a day shortened telomeres to the equivalent of an additional 4.6 years of aging, comparable to the effect of smoking.
 
Seven health problems linked to soft drinks include:
 
1. Obesity. Some research indicates that calories from sugar are more easily turned into fat than calories from other sources. Harvard University found that 12-year-old girls who drank sugary sodas were more likely to be obese than those who avoided them, and for each additional soda daily, the risk of obesity increased more than 150 percent. Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center found that every can or bottle of soft drink a person drinks each day increases their risk of being overweight by 41 percent.
 
High-fructose corn syrup, which is used in most soft drinks in this country, seems to be more at fault for weight gain than regular sugar: Researchers at Princeton University found that rats who were fed high-fructose corn syrup gained 47 percent more weight than rats who were fed an equal number of calories, but without corn syrup.
 
2. Osteoporosis. Phosphoric acid, which gives soft drinks their  characteristic "bite," leaches calcium from bones. A study at Tufts University found that women who drank cola-based sodas had lower bone density in their hips, putting them at greater risk for fractures, especially as they age. And several studies have found a strong association between bone fractures and the amount of colas consumed by teen girls.
 
3. Cancer. Sodas increase the risk of several types of cancer including pancreatic, uterine, and esophageal. A Chinese study found that drinking two or more soft drinks a week almost doubles the risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared to people who do not drink them. "The high levels of sugar in soft drinks may be increasing the level of insulin in the body, which we think contributes to pancreatic cancer cell growth," said senior author Mark Pereira.
 
A 24-year study of the habits of more than 23,000 postmenopausal women published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention found that the only habit with a significant link to endometrial cancer was drinking sugary drinks. Women who drank two or more servings a week increased their risk by 78 percent of developing estrogen-dependent Type 1 endometrial cancer than women who didn't drink sugary beverages.
 
British researchers discovered that when sodium benzoate, used for mold prevention in many soft drinks, mixes with vitamin C, it creates a carcinogenic substance called benzene. Researchers at India's Tata Memorial Hospital found a "very significant correlation" between soft drinks and an increased risk of esophageal cancer.
 
4. Alzheimer's. Scientists at Australia's Macquarie University found that sugary drinks cause changes in the brain that are similar to those seen in many illnesses, including Alzheimer's. In a study, rats were fed sugary water containing the same sugar concentration as soft drinks. After 26 days their brains showed "profound" changes, especially in the area of the brain that makes decisions, when compared to animals which drank only water. Differences included alterations in 290 different proteins, as well as long-lasting changes in behavior, including hyperactivity. A study at Georgia State University found that a diet high in fructose impaired the memory of rats.
 
5. Diabetes. A study at the Imperial College of London found that people who drink a single 12-ounce soda a day increased their risk of Type 2 diabetes by 18 percent when compared to people who avoided sodas. A study from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that women who drink one cola a day double their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes when compared with women who drink less than one a month. Rutgers researchers believe that high-fructose corn syrup, an ingredient in most sugar-sweetened sodas, may initiate a series of events in the body that leads to diabetes.
 
6. Rotting Teeth. Of course sugar causes tooth decay, but in addition to cavities, phosphoric acid and/or citric acid in soft drinks changes the pH of saliva and causes tooth enamel to erode. One study found that although fruit juices can harm teeth, colas have 10 times the potential. In heavy cola drinkers, the effects can be devastating. "Drinking large quantities of your favorite carbonated soda could be as damaging to your teeth as methamphetamine and crack cocaine use," said a statement from the Academy of General Dentistry. Numerous studies have linked bad oral health with overall poor health.
 
7. Heart disease. Researchers at Harvard found that drinking a single 12-ounce sugar-sweetened drink each day increased the risk of heart disease by 29 percent, and cardiovascular damage begins at an early age. A study at the University of Sydney found that children who drank at least one soft drink a day had narrowed arteries in the back part of the eye, indicating an increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
 
High blood pressure is also a risk according to a study from the University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center, which found that a diet high in high-fructose corn syrup increases the risk of developing high blood pressure by up to 87 percent. Soft drinks aren't good for cholesterol levels, either. A study published in Circulation found that people who drank one or more soft drinks each day were 25 percent more likely to develop high blood triglycerides (a type of fat), and 32 percent more likely to have low levels of "good" cholesterol.

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Many Americans have taken to heart the onslaught of studies indicating that drinking sodas is bad for their health. Consumption has been steadily decreasing during the past decade, and the downward trend continues. A recent Gallup poll found that 63 percent of people ...
sodas, kill, obesity, diabetes, telomeres, lifespan, longevity
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2014-37-28
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 03:37 PM
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