23/10/2014 08:46 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Drinking Fizzy Drinks Can Accelerate Ageing, Says Study

There's more bad news on the fizzy drinks front.

While the health implications of these high-sugar liquids have been well documented in recent years - they've been linked to increasing blood pressure and could pose a risk to heart health - a new study has found yet another reason to kick that lunchtime cola habit.


Research published in the American Journal of Public Health suggests drinking fizzy drinks could make our bodies age prematurely.

Professors at the University of California San Francisco examined data collected from 5,309 healthy participants between 1999 and 2002 to examine the effect these drinks have on telomeres - the protective cap on the end of our chromosomes which shorten as we age. The study found the drinks accelerated this process.

MORE: How to burn off calories from fizzy drinks

But there's more worrying news. The effect fizzy drinks have on telomere length is proportionate to the relationship between smoking and ageing.

As Time reports, drinking an 8-ounce daily serving (that's around 237 ml) of a fizzy drink corresponded to 1.9 years of additional ageing, and drinking a daily 20-ounce serving (almost 600 ml) was linked to 4.6 more years of ageing.

"The extremely high dose of sugar that we can put into our body within seconds by drinking sugared beverages is uniquely toxic to metabolism," Elissa Epel, the study author and professor of psychiatry at the university told Time.

Study Shows Drinking Sugary Drinks May Be Just As Bad As Smoking

Epel's test found diet fizzy drinks and non-carbonated high-sugar drinks like fruit juice didn't have an impact on telerone length. However, this doesn't mean they're any better for you.

"We think that the jury's still out on sugared beverages - theoretically they're just as bad," she said."

Of course, this study doesn't actually prove that fizzy drinks are the reason why telomeres shorten and the discovery is still in the early stages.

But one thing's certain - a healthy, balanced diet shouldn't involve these sweet, liquid calories.