Abstract P079: Sugar-Sweetened Soda Consumption is Associated with Shorter Leukocyte Telomere Length among Healthy Adults
Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) is linked to increased risks of metabolic disease, but the biological mechanisms underlying this association are still under investigation. Leukocyte telomere length maintenance underlies healthy cellular aging, and may provide a link between SSB consumption and risk of disease. Given the known effects of SSBs on oxidative stress and insulin resistance, we examined the associations between sugar-sweetened beverage, diet soda, and fruit juice consumption, and leukocyte telomere length in 5,309 healthy adults with no prior history of diabetes or cardiovascular disease, using data from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Surveys (NHANES). We hypothesized that beverages with high sugar content would be most detrimental to cellular aging. Leukocyte telomere length was assayed from DNA specimens collected from adult NHANES participants. Diet was assessed using 24-hour dietary recalls. Because 24-hour dietary recalls may not accurately reflect long-term intake, the National Cancer Institute statistical method was used to estimate usual dietary intake. After adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics, smoking behavior, physical activity, dietary quality, and body mass index (BMI), each 8-ounce daily serving of sugar-sweetened sodas was associated with shorter telomeres (β=-0.010, 95% CI -0.019, -0.001), roughly equivalent to 1.8 additional years of aging. Twenty-one percent of study participants consumed ≥20 ounces of sugar-sweetened soda a day, translating into approximately 4.4 additional years of aging for heavy soda drinkers. No significant associations were observed between consumption of diet sodas, non-carbonated SSBs, or 100% fruit juice and telomere length. In conclusion, regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas was associated with shorter telomeres in a nationally representative sample of healthy, nonelderly adults independent of BMI and other individual characteristics. These results suggest that SSBs may influence metabolic disease development through accelerated cell aging. Although more research is needed to confirm these associations, these findings strengthen the rationale for limiting the consumption of SSBs.
Author Disclosures: C.W. Leung: None. B.A. Laraia: None. B.L. Needham: None. D.H. Rehkopf: None. N.E. Adler: None. E.S. Epel: F. Ownership Interest; Modest; Dr. Epel is a cofounder of, and holds stock or stock options in, Telome Health Inc., a telomere measurement company..
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.