A new research has found that sugary soft drinks may speed-up ageing as much as smoking. Experts discovered that fizzy drinks cause much more damage to health than merely making people fat – and seems to also accelerate the rate at which cells age. The research found that people who drank two cans of cola a day had DNA changes of cells 4.6 years older.

Campaigners hold sugary drinks responsible for promoting the rise in obesity and the number of people with type-2 diabetes, however, for the first time a research has linked soft drinks with premature ageing. Scientists scanned tons of DNA samples and discovered that people who regularly reached for a fizzy drink had shorter telomeres.

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Telomeres are tiny structures found at the ends of chromosomes, which prevent damage to DNA, in the same way as caps on the ends of shoelaces prevent fraying. Telomers turn shorter and shorter, with age – damage the DNA and raise the risk of age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart disease. Acutely shorter telomeres indicate ill health and premature death. Scientists discovered that people who drank sugar-sweetened fizzy drinks daily had ‘notably’ shorter telomeres, than those who did not. Professor Elissa studied only adults, but feels that drinking fizzy drinks is linked to telomere shortening in children, as well.

Scientists measured telomeres in the white blood cells of 5,309 participants aged 20 to 65, without history of diabetes or heart disease. They discovered intake of two cans of cola per day – 20 fluid ounces – was linked to 4.6 years of ageing, based on telomere shortening and found every fifth participant fell into this category. A mere small soft drink, had daily was linked to telomere shortening equivalent to 1.9 additional years of ageing. The effect on telomere length was almost identical to smoking, the researchers wrote in the American Journal of Public Health.

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HOW WORK CAN MAKE YOU STAY YOUNG FOR LONGER 

A new study has confirmed that people who work stay young longer than those who don’t. The research found a connection between unemployment and premature ageing. It’s believed that financial and emotional stress of being jobless makes its mark on the body’s DNA. Blood samples of men who left work two to three years back, were found to have shorter telomeres than those who had been in continuous employment. Researcher Jessica Buxton, of Imperial College London, said this points that the financial and emotional stress associated with being out of work was to blame.