'The study found that drinking soft drinks is associated with cell aging, suggesting sugar-sweetened soda consumption might promote disease independently from its role in obesity.
The study revealed that telomeres -- the protective units of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes in cells -- were shorter in the white blood cells of survey participants who reported drinking more soda. The findings were reported in the American Journal of Public Health
The length of telomeres within white blood cells -- where it can most easily be measured -- has previously been associated with human lifespan. Short telomeres also have been associated with the development of chronic diseases of aging, including heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.'