Popular Drinks That Age You Faster, Says Dietitian
We may not be able to stop aging, but researchers are finding that we can definitely try to slow it down! They've found that common habits like not getting enough sleep, constant stress, staring at computer screens, and eating processed foods can actually speed up your body's aging process.
The foods and drinks you consume also have the power to age your faster, but sometimes it can be hard to determine which ones you should avoid and which ones might help.
To find out more about this, we got some helpful insight from one of our medical board experts, Amy Goodson MS, RD, CSSD, LD author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook, on some popular drinks that can age us faster and the drinks we should look for instead.
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It's no secret that sodas are packed full of sugar. A 12 ounce can of coke comes with 39 grams of sugar, which is an enormous amount for just one drink when you consider the FDA's recommended amount of consuming no more than 50 grams of added sugar in one day.
When it comes to drinks that age you faster, it's the sugar-sweetened beverages like these that you want to look out for.
"Drinks that contain large amounts of sugar and little to no nutrients typically increase calorie intake and ultimately can lead to weight gain over time," says Goodson.
Here are the 112 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are.
Sweet tea is another drink that comes loaded with sugar and almost no nutrients. Whether you buy it bottled or order it at a restaurant, drinking this in excess can lead to weight gain in the same way that soda can.
"With excess weight gain, you increase your risk for chronic health conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and more," says Goodson.
These types of illnesses can age you faster by shaving off years of your life. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease and diabetes are among some of the leading causes of death in America.
When we say "fruity drinks," we aren't talking about pressed juices or smoothies made with natural ingredients. The types of fruity drinks that can age you faster are the bottled juices that disguise themselves as being healthy but are loaded with sugar.
For example, in 8 ounces of Minute Maid Fruit Punch, you'll consume 22 grams of added sugar and a good amount of high fructose corn syrup. Even in a Naked Blue Machine Juice, which is made without added sugar, you'll still consume 55 grams of sugar in just one serving from juice concentrate.
Goodson says that although there really isn't that much sugar in alcohol (of course it depends on which type you're drinking), it can still age you faster in other ways.
"Your skin gets thinner and drier as you age (intrinsic aging) and external factors can speed this up," says Goodson, "and due to alcohol's dehydration effect, it can contribute to more aged skin when consumed in large amounts over time."
Alcohol can also affect you in ways unrelated to physical appearance such as putting stress on your liver and health issues that stem from that.
"For many people, along with liver troubles, alcohol can also contribute to poor sleep, and not sleeping enough long term can contribute to aging faster as well as decreasing our immune system's strength," says Goodson.
She also emphasizes that moderate intake of alcohol, which is one drink a day for women and two for men according to the CDC, is usually harmless for people without underlying health issues.
"When we are discussing these aging effects, it's typically seen with heavy/excessive drinking for large periods of time," says Goodson.
Healthier drinks to choose instead
The good news is that there are plenty of drink options out there for you to choose that won't age you faster and will instead give your body a boost of some of the nutrients it needs.
"The goal is to drink beverages that hydrate you for little to no calories," says Goodson, "like water and flavored waters, or beverages that provide calories with beneficial nutrients like milk, protein-rich smoothies, 100% pomegranate or tart cherry juice, etc."
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