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Soda & Telomeres

October 24, 2014

Sugar-sweetened soda may cause cell damage.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Can soda sicken your cells? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Sugar-sweetened sodas may harm our cells, and promote diabetes, cancer and heart disease according to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health. UC San Francisco health psychology researcher Elissa Epel and her colleagues report that the cells of people who drank soda each day had shortened telomeres—structures that help prevent chromosome damage when cells divide. Epel says the culprit could be soda-induced spikes in blood sugar levels.

ELISSA EPEL (UC San Francisco):

It’s creating a cellular environment that is probably characterized by oxidative stress, and definitely greater levels of glucose and insulin, and telomeres do not do well in that environment.

HIRSHON:

She says the extent of the telomere damage was equivalent to that experienced by smokers, and the damage was independent of the soda drinker’s weight or other factors. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.