Soda Pop Tax? Drinking Soda May Have Similar Aging Effects On Cells As Smoking

Last week, Inquisitr reported that CVS is considering phasing out soda pop and candy from its shelves just as it did tobacco, and only one day later, Medical News Today reported that sugary drinks like soda appear to encourage cellular aging as well as previously known health problems like obesity. The new research indicates that sugary drinks like soda pop can lead to premature aging of immune cells that is comparable to the effects of smoking cigarettes!

One implication of the aging immune cells is vulnerability to chronic diseases. Shortened telomeres are also associated with tissue damage, inflammation, and aging. Scientists at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) recently noticed that participants in their study who drank larger amounts of sugary soda drinks had shorter telomeres. Earlier this year, Inquisitr explained that telomeres are protective caps located at the ends of cell chromosomes. In that article, the link between stress and poverty on telomeres was examined. The UCSF findings are published in the American Journal of Public Health, and they indicate that telomeres are shortened from sugary drinks like soda… even in children.

“Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence disease development,” says Professor Elissa Epel, the senior author of the UCSF study on cellular aging and soda consumption. “Not only by straining the body’s metabolic control of sugars, but also through accelerated cellular aging of tissues.”

The researchers looked at 5,309 participants who were surveyed, and their telomere length was measured. The results were very noticeable. Researchers found that only 20 ounces of soda pop every day was associated with almost five years of biological aging, according to the condition of the cells. This was comparable to cellular aging from smoking cigarettes, according to Medical News Today.

While causation has not yet been proven, future studies will be set up to examine the team’s theory. Medical News Today had previously reported that researchers have already concluded that a tax on soda pop would be the best option for reducing childhood obesity. The Huffington Post reported that in California, a large majority of residents surveyed would support a soda tax.


One study published in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics indicated taxing soda per calorie might be an idea way to impose a soda tax, though other research indicates that artificial sweeteners have negative health implications too. The new findings that indicate a link to cellular aging might further reinforce the support for a soda pop tax.