Sugary drinks aren’t just bad for your teeth. According to a recent study, children aged two to three years old who consume sugar-sweetened beverages can have shorter telomeres.
The study by researchers from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) revealed that if this early-life exposure alters the length of telomeres, or “the protective end caps for DNA within cells’ chromosomes,” it could even affect risk for chronic illnesses as the children grow older.
What do telemeres do?
Telomeres shrink as people age, and this change is often linked to some adult studies with metabolic and inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, liver cirrhosis, and ulcerative colitis.
Janet Wojcicki, Ph.D., associate professor at the UCSF Department of Pediatrics and the lead author of the study, explained that research has determined that the length of telomeres drastically “shortens fastest in the first years of life,” but it remains unknown if this is linked to chronic disease risks.
For the study, the scientists from UCSF checked telomere length in white blood cells from 61 Latino children who drank beverages like soda, sweetened juices and Kool-Aid. Telomere length was measured via a method called qPCR, “which compares the ratio of the abundance of telomeres versus the abundance of a single copy gene (t/s ratio).” This data indicates the average telomere length in a population of cells. Measurements were taken during infancy, and it was taken again during the preschool years of the children.
Shorter telomore length linked to sugar-sweetened beverages
The researchers discovered that the value of the t/s ratio used to gauge telomere length averaged 1.58. Each monthly serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage was linked to a t/s ratio that was at least 0.009 less than the average, which implies “a correspondingly shorter telomere length.”
Wojcicki said that despite the “relatively low levels of sugared-beverage consumption, the study revealed that the frequency of the children’s consumption was connected to telomere length, which reflects the connection found in some studies of adults.”
At least 62 percent of the children in the current study started drinking sodas by age two to three, and the average number of servings was at least five to six servings per month.
One thing to note about the results of the study is the association of higher sugar-sweetened beverage consumption with telomere length that was greater among non-obese children. Wojcicki noted the possibility that obese young children have already “reached a threshold of damage from exposure to increased inflammation.” The researcher adds that it will be interesting to look into the unhealthy metabolic changes that happen before obesity develops.
In previous studies of Latino children, Wojcicki et al. determined that high levels of sugar-sweetened soda consumption at three years of age was connected to more rapid shortening of telomeres at ages four or five. Children with mothers who consumed fewer sugar-sweetened beverages while pregnant had longer telomeres, just like the children of mothers who breastfed.
Wojcicki concluded, “We really need a stronger push to understand how exposures during the mother’s pregnancy and immediately after birth impact health throughout life.”
Healthier alternatives to sugary drinks
If your kids love sugary drinks but you’re worried about their daily sugar intake, try making the healthier drink options listed below:
- Smoothies – Use unsweetened coconut or almond milk and blend it with a cup of berries or other frozen fruit.
- Homemade iced tea – Brew a batch of naturally sweet tea, like apple cinnamon tea, mint tea, or berry tea, and leave the tea bags in. Let the mixture chill in the fridge overnight.
- Carbonated water – This is a great alternative to soda. Add some lemon, lime, grapefruit, fresh berries, mint, or herbs for more flavor.
- Herbal tea – Even plain herbal tea has a naturally sweet flavor so you won’t need to add sugar. Try herbal teas like ginger, dandelion, hibiscus and rooibos.
A quick note from our founder-
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Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
...suffocating tissue, restricting blood flow, damaging joints and infecting your healthy cells.
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64% of women and 74% of men carry too much body fat according to the National Institutes of Health.
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I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat.
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d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
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Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
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You probably know most of us eat too much processed food. What you may not know is that it’s full of toxic chemicals and substandard, dirt-cheap ingredients designed to make you eat more…and force you to gain weight.
Here’s how it works.
“That stuff is just a lot of calories your body can’t use,” Liz told me, “Some are poison. And all these foods are stripped of the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your body detox. The result? Your body expends huge amounts of calories to eliminate some toxins—the rest, it stores in your fat to protect you. This is why most people are hungry all the time. They’re not getting energy they need.”
“So… what’s going on with me? Why am I losing weight but not going hungry?”
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Your body is designed to burn fat. You just have to let it.
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What good is a fat reserve if you can’t burn it?
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- Which calories help you lose weight…and which ones help you gain it…
- The “diet” foods…some of them vegetables…that lead to weight gain and diabetes…
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Revitalizing your metabolism so you can Shed pounds as well as toxins, renew your body and reset your internal clock by up to 7 years.
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.