Skip the Soda

You’ve probably heard that drinking too much soda is a bad idea, perhaps because the sugar will rot your teeth, or perhaps because all those extra calories are bound to show up somewhere.  Now, according to some recent research summarized at the PhysOrg site, there’s another potential reason to avoid soda, and other processed foods containing high levels of phosphates: they make you get older faster.

New research published online in the FASEB Journal shows that high levels of phosphates may add more “pop” to sodas and processed foods than once thought. That’s because researchers found that the high levels of phosphates accelerate signs of aging.

The research team, led by Dr. M. Shawkat Razzaque of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, studied three groups of mice.  The first group had a genetic modification that resulted in their having abnormally high phosphate levels in their bodies.  A second group had a modification that resulted in low phosphate levels.  The third group was genetically identical to the second, but was fed a diet that produced high phosphate levels.

Mice in both the first and the third group — the mice that had high phosphate levels, induced by either genetics or diet — had substantially shorter lifespans than the mice in the second group.   There was evidence that high phosphate levels were associated with renal, cardiovascular, and skeletal diseases.  From the paper’s abstract:

The results of our dietary and genetic manipulation studies provide in vivo evidence for phosphate toxicity accelerating the aging process and suggest a novel role for phosphate in mammalian aging.

Perhaps it’s just as well that I’ve always liked coffee better.

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