(HealthDay News) — Drinking sugar-sweetened sodas may affect cellular aging by shortening telomere length, according to research published online Oct. 16 in the American Journal of Public Health.

Cindy W. Leung, ScD, of the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the relationships between leukocyte telomere length and consumption of beverages, including sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), diet soda, and fruit juice, in a representative sample of 5,309 healthy adults, aged 20–65 years.

After adjustment for health-related and sociodemographic variables, the researchers found that consumption of sugar-sweetened soda was associated with shorter telomeres (b = −0.01; 95% confidence interval [CI], −0.02 to −0.001; P=0.04). A marginal association was found between consumption of 100-percent fruit juice and longer telomeres (b = −0.016; 95% CI, −0.000–0.033; P=0.05). No significant associations were found between consumption of diet sodas or noncarbonated SSBs and telomere length.

“Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence metabolic disease development through accelerated cell aging,” the authors write.

Several authors are co-founders of Telomere Diagnostics, a telomere measurement company.

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