Consuming a bunch of soda and other sugary drinks can lead to a range of chronic health problems, but a new study suggests that quaffing too much of the sweet stuff can also lead to premature aging.
To reach that conclusion, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, examined DNA samples from 5,300 adults, specifically looking at the length of the caps on their chromosomes, called telomeres. The results: People who drank more sugary beverages typically had shorter telomeres. And because degraded telomeres make it harder for cells to regenerate, the people who drank more soda were essentially aging more rapidly than their peers.
"We think we can get away with drinking lots of soda as long as we are not gaining weight," lead study author Dr. Elissa Epel told CBS, "but this suggests that there is an invisible pathway that leads to accelerated aging, regardless of weight."
So if you need a pick-me-up, maybe stick with a cup of coffee and all its purported health benefits.