Is This Sweet Drink Making You Old?

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

November 28, 2014

  • The beverage that adds almost five years to your age…
  • These are your telomeres on sugary sodas…
  • Want to grow younger? Drink this…

The amount of soda we drink here in the U.S. is astounding. At last count, the average American was chugging down almost 45 gallons of these sugary beverages each year. I can believe it, especially when I see people who guzzle one can after another, with hardly a pause in between.

Everyone knows drinking too many soft drinks isn’t good for them. But, I find a lot of my patients think they’re safe, as long as they limit their consumption to just one or two cans a day.

In my opinion, even that’s too much, if you’re serious about your health. And, it’s not just sneaky weight gain you have to worry about.

One or two sugary sodas each day can:

  • Greatly increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Place you at higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Jeopardize your livelihood by promoting the build-up of fat in the liver.
  • Promote certain types of cancer.

Now we’re learning these sweet beverages have one more very serious consequence:

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Just 20 ounces of sugary soda daily can prematurely age you by almost five years!

Let me explain…

If you’re still drinking sugary sodas, you could be speeding up the aging process at the cellular level. That’s because these sweet beverages actually cause your telomeres to shorten. In fact, these drinks are just as bad for your telomeres as smoking is.

Telomeres are strands of DNA found at the ends of your chromosomes. They act as a “genetic clock” when it comes to how fast your body ages. That’s because each time a cell divides, some of the telomere is lost. This can be a real problem, because the more quickly your telomeres shorten, the faster you age.

Shortened telomeres also open the door to a boatload of age-related health conditions. And, guess what some of those conditions are?

Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, fatty liver and cancer… the same ones that go hand-in-hand with drinking sugary soft drinks.

Shorter telomeres have also been linked to dementia, inflammation, emphysema, multiple sclerosis and celiac disease. So, every time you chug down a can of sugary soda, you’re not only adding years to your biological age, you’re also putting yourself at risk for some very serious health concerns.

Now you might think, “Okay, I’ll just switch to sugar-free sodas.” But, I definitely caution you against that.

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While sugar-free soft drinks don’t have the same impact on your telomeres that sugary ones do, they come with problems of their own. That’s because the artificial sweeteners in them act very much like sugar. So, they inadvertently contribute to weight gain and diabetes.

They can also cause headaches, abdominal pain, nausea, heart problems, liver and kidney impairments, and diarrhea. And, recent research shows they can change the microbiome (your good gut bacteria) into the not-so-good type, affecting your immunity.

So, what’s your best bet?

You’ll be glad to know there’s another very common beverage that can protect your telomeres, preserve your DNA, and keep you younger, longer.

Did you know that people who drink about three cups of green tea each day have longer telomeres than people who don’t? It’s true. And, they aren’t just a little bit longer… they’re a lot longer. Green tea drinkers have telomeres that are about five years younger than people who don’t drink it.

Now, that’s really saying something. And, it’s incredibly easy to do. Simply invest in a good matcha, longjing or other green tea of your choice and enjoy several cups (hot or cold) each day. I’ve gotten into the habit of drinking jasmine green tea.

Not a tea drinker? Well, you still need to find something to replace those sugary colas.

As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing better than good, old-fashioned water. If you need a little flavor, top off a glass of ice-cold, filtered water with citrus fruit, berries, kiwis or a small splash of your favorite juice for a naturally sweet taste.

And, don’t worry. You can still get in on green tea’s protective properties by taking a supplement. Just look for a green tea formula that contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and is standardized to contain 60% polyphenols.

“Bottom’s Up! A Look at America’s Drinking Habits.” News Release. Ad Age. June 2011.

“Sugared Soda Consumption, Cell Aging Associated in New Study.” News Release. UCSF. Oct 2014.

Malik VS et al. “Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes Care.2010;33:2477-2483.

Fung TT. “Sweetened beverage consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in women.” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009;89:1037-1042.

Eshak ES, et al. “Soft drink intake in relation to incident ischemic heart disease, stroke, and stroke subtypes in Japanese men and women: the Japan Public Health Centre-based study cohort I.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec; 96(6):1390-7.

Assy N, et al. “Soft drink consumption linked with fatty liver in the absence of traditional risk factors.” Can J Gastroenterol. 2008 Oct;22(10):811-6.

Carulli L, et al. “Telomere and telomerase in chronic liver disease and hepatocarcinoma.” World J Gastroenterol. 2014 May 28;20(20):6287-92.

Chan R, et al. “Chinese tea consumption is associated with longer telomere length in elderly Chinese men.” British Journal of Nutrition. 2010;103:107-113

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