(NEWSER) – Drink a 20-ounce soda daily, and you may be causing your cells to age as much as they would if you smoked, a study suggests. Researchers investigated DNA from 5,309 adults, focusing on telomeres, the caps on the ends of our cells' chromosomes, Time reports.
They found that drinking sugary soda was associated with shorter telomeres—and it's known that telomere length may be linked to life span, according to a University of California-San Francisco report. Shorter telomeres also appear to be linked to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. In the study, a daily 20-ounce soda was associated with an extra 4.6 years of aging—the same figure seen in smokers.