With the hot days of summer comes the desire for cold drinks.  Did you know that Coca-Cola products are consumed at the rate of more than 1.9 billion drinks per day?  And that does not even include all of the other brands of soft drinks that are being consumed.  Should we be concerned?

I just recently came across a very disturbing study that found that drinking soft drinks is associated with cell aging,  The study revealed that telomeres — the protective units of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes in cells — were shorter in the white blood cells of survey participants who reported drinking more soda. The findings were reported in the American Journal of Public Health.  (Again,  telomeres are the ends of your DNA and they affect longevity.  As they  become shorter and their structural integrity is weakened cells age and die more quickly.  In simple terms, as your telomeres get shorter, your life gets shorter).  Go here  for more fascinating information about this subject.

So what’s the concern about shorter telomeres (besides a shorter life!)?   Unfortunately, shorter telomeres lead to the development of chronic diseases of aging, including heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer

Elissa Epel, professor of psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) states “This is the first demonstration that soda is associated with telomere shortness.  This finding held regardless of age, race, income and education level. Telomere shortening starts long before disease onset. Further, although we only studied adults here, it is possible that soda consumption is associated with telomere shortening in children, as well.”

Based on the way telomere length shortens on average with chronological age, the UCSF researchers calculated that daily consumption of a 20-ounce soda was associated with 4.6 years of additional biological aging.  For some this may seem like a small amount; however, we also have to take into consideration that many cancers feed on sugar.

People who drink soda, or other sugary beverages have a higher risk of developing cancer in the gallbladder and bile ducts around the liver, a Swedish Study suggests.   The evidence suggests that obesity, and elevated blood sugar levels also increase the risk of malignancies

Pancreatic Cancer is very fast moving and also tied with drinking a soda or two a day. In fact, the risk of pancreatic cancer increases by about 87%, according to researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, D.C.  The study is published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

So what can take the place of that refreshing coke on a hot summer day?  I actually have found a tea (can be either hot or cold) that is an antioxidant-rich blend of green, white, and red teas that provides a  safe and natural way to head off the slumps when you need a quick pick-me-up.  It comes in two flavors ~ Green Matcha and Pomegranate and both are delicious.    I also make fizzy drinks with sparking seltzer water and a squeeze of lemon or lime.   And, of course, a good glass of filtered water is always a good choice.  What about you?  Have you considered alternatives to soda?  Please share yours with us.



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