More Americans now drink sugar-sweetened sodas, sport drinks and fruit drinks daily. Sugary beverages not only may raise the risk of becoming overweight, but may prompt the onset of chronic disease (such as type-2 diabetes), and may compromise a person’s healthspan – the length of time that we are able to live productively and independently.
Research suggests that drinking sodas, which contain high levels of phosphates, may accelerate the aging process. A team from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (Massachusetts, USA), studied the effects of high phosphate levels in three groups of mice. The first group was missing a gene (klotho), which when absent, causes mice to have toxic levels of phosphate in their bodies. These mice lived for 8 to 15 weeks. The second group was missing the klotho gene and a second gene (NaPi2a), which when absent at the same time, substantially lowered the amount of phosphate in their bodies. These mice lived to 20 weeks. The third group, like the second group, was missing both the klotho and NaPi2a genes, but was also fed a high-phosphate diet. Like the mice in the first group, all of the mice in the third group died by 15 weeks. Demonstrating that phosphate has toxic effects in mice, the findings raise a stark possibility that the compound may have a similar effect in humans.
University of California/San Francisco (UCSF; California, USA) researchers utilized the Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) Policy Model, a computerized model of the national population age 35 years and older, drawing on data from major epidemiological studies, including the Framingham Heart Study, The Nurses Health Study and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The team determined that the increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages between 1990 and 2000 contributed to 130,000 new cases of diabetes, 14,000 new cases of coronary heart disease, and 50,000 additional life-years burdened by coronary heart disease over the past decade. Further, the team estimates that the additional disease caused by the drinks has increased coronary heart disease healthcare costs by US$ 300 to 550 million between 2000-2010. They also conclude that over the last decade, at least 6,000 excess deaths from any cause and 21,000 life-years lost can be attributed to the increase in sugar-sweetened drinks.
Boston University (Massachusetts, USA) researchers conducted a progressive follow-up study, commencing in 1995, on 59,000 African American women, ages 21 to 69 years. The team found that the daily consumption of two sugar-sweetened soft drinks raised the risk of type-2 diabetes by 24%, and the consumption of two fruit drinks a day increased the disease risk by 33%...