It’s not news to anyone that smoking takes years off your life and ages you. But did you know there’s another daily activity you might be doing that could age you just as much as if you were smoking cigarettes?
Studies have shown that drinking soda (more specifically a 20-ounce sugar-sweetened soda every day) actually makes your cells age faster.
Take it from TreeHugger:
They found that the more soda a person drinks, the shorter their telomeres become over time. Telomeres are the protective units of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes in cells; they shorten and fail to regenerate as we age naturally, although there are certain behaviours, such as smoking, that shorten them prematurely.
“Drinking an 8-ounce daily serving of soda corresponded to 1.9 years of additional aging, and drinking a daily 20-ounce serving was linked to 4.6 more years of aging,” Mandy Oaklander reported for TIME.
The scary news is that this “effect on telomere length is comparable to the effect of smoking.”