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How Soft Drinks Could Cause Rapid Aging

Hoo boy. The American Beverage Association isn’t going to like thisnews one bit. Food companies now add significant amounts of phosphatesto soda and other processed foods. And now researchers have foundevidence that phosphates may accelerate aging (via Science Daily): High phosphate levels may also increase the prevalence and severityof age-related complications, such as chronic kidney disease andcardiovascular calcification, and can also induce severe muscle andskin atrophy.

soda cans

Hoo boy. The American Beverage Association isn’t going to like thisnews one bit. Food companies now add significant amounts of phosphatesto soda and other processed foods. And now researchers have foundevidence that phosphates may accelerate aging (via Science Daily):

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High phosphate levels may also increase the prevalence and severityof age-related complications, such as chronic kidney disease andcardiovascular calcification, and can also induce severe muscle andskin atrophy.

“Humans need a healthy diet and keeping the balance of phosphate inthe diet may be important for a healthy life and longevity,” said M.Shawkat Razzaque, M.D., PhD, from the Department of Medicine,Infection and Immunity at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. “Avoidphosphate toxicity and enjoy a healthy life.”

“Soda is the caffeine delivery vehicle of choice for millions ofpeople worldwide, but comes with phosphorous as a passenger” saidGerald Weissmann, M.D., editor-in-chief of the FASEB Journal. “This research suggests that our phosphorous balance influences the aging process, so don’t tip it.”

This has nothing to do with sweeteners, food coloring or any otherpreviously established badness associated with soda and processed food– it’s a “new and improved” risk.

And what, pray tell, are these phosphates doing there in the first place? According to other scientists, food companies starting adding them at high levels only in the last 20 years:

…[W]hile a moderate level of phosphate plays an essential role inliving organisms, the rapidly increasing use of phosphates as a foodadditive has resulted in significantly higher levels in average dailydiets. Phosphates are added to many food products to increase waterretention and improve food texture.

“In the 1990s, phosphorous-containing food additives contributed anestimated 470 mg per day to the average daily adult diet,” he said.”However, phosphates are currently being added much more frequently toa large number of processed foods, including meats, cheeses, beverages,and bakery products. As a result, depending on individual food choices,phosphorous intake could be increased by as much as 1000 mg per day.”

“Increase water retention and improve food texture”?! That’s worth shaving years off our lives for sure! We’re all lab rats now.

This post was written by Tom Laskawy for Grist.org


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