Ross: Study shows aging effects of sugar

Sep 20, 2023, 8:03 AM | Updated: 8:11 am

Dr. Bleich found you could discourage kids from buying soda if you post signs near the soda case showing how much exercise it takes to work off the soda you're about to drink. (AP Photo/File)

(AP Photo/File)

My family informs me that no one wants to hear any more studies about sugar, because they’ve already heard enough.

“There’s too much sugar in kids’ cereals; fructose overstimulates a hormone that helps regulate fat; and drinking sugary drinks can raise your risk of high blood pressure by up to 70%!”

More from Dave Ross: New research confirms what we all know about school lunches

Enough! We like sugar! Scientists just need to deal with it!

But the trouble is the studies are getting scarier and scarier. The latest is from Dr. Elissa Eppel of UC San Francisco.

Eppel found sugar doesn’t just make you fat; it alters your cells. She found a connection between too much sugar and the shrinking of spiral structures known as telomeres that protect the chromosomes.

“Short telomeres are both associated with chronic diseases of aging and predictive of chronic diseases of aging,” Eppel said.

Once chromosomes lose this protective layer, they malfunction. The immune system falters, and you catch everything until finally, so long!

“We think we can get away with drinking lots of sodas as long as we’re not gaining weight,” Eppel said. “But this suggests that there is an invisible pathway that leads to accelerated aging regardless of weight.”

She says soda appears to accelerate the aging of your chromosomes. Such that you might be in your 40s, but your chromosomes could file for Medicare.

However, another study by Dr. Sara Bleich of Johns Hopkins provides some hope. Dr. Bleich found you could discourage kids from buying soda if you post signs near the soda case showing how much exercise it takes to work off the soda you’re about to drink.

She tested this by putting up three signs in a corner store in a low-income neighborhood in Baltimore. The three signs separately listed: the number of calories in the soda, how many tablespoons of sugar were in the soda, and how much running it would take to burn off the calories in the soda.

“The one that was most effective was the physical activity equivalent. Telling adolescents that a bottle of soda is about 50 minutes of jogging. We found when that sign was posted, the likelihood they would buy a sugary beverage was reduced by about 50 percent,” explained Dr. Bleich.

She also found that the effect remains even after the signs come down.

However, you do have to get some glucose into your system because, as other studies have shown, “Research from the National Academy of Sciences found a strong correlation between low glucose levels and aggressive behavior towards the person’s spouse.”

It all makes you wonder how the species ever got this far.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: Study shows aging effects of sugar