Numerous studies have shown that too much soda is detrimental to our health, with its effects ranging from juvenile aggression to oral deterioration. Now, researchers say that it may also lead to premature aging, reports TIME.com.

Using data from 5,309 adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), senior study author Elissa Epel, PhD, professor of psychiatry at University of California San Francisco and her team found that people who drank more sugary sodas had shorter telomeres—the caps at the end of our chromosomes and known indicators of age. An eight-ounce daily serving was linked to 1.9 years of additional aging, while a daily 20-ounce serving was associated with 4.6 more years of aging.

However, this link was only evident in people who drank sweetened soda. Diet drinks and non-carbonated sugary beverages didn’t appear to have any significant effects on telomere length.

(Photo by barbara carneiro via Flickr Creative Commons)

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