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Drinking a normal-sized bottle of fizzy, sugary drink a day could be as bad for you body as being a regular smoker, scientists have claimed.
Professor Elissa Epel of the University of California, San Francisco, analysed the responses of 5,309 adults who reported their dietary intake in a 14-year-old study.
She concluded that a daily carbonated drink habit could age immune cells by up to two years, which is comparable to smoking.
Specifically it is the telomeres, protective DNA caps at the end of chromosomes in white blood cells, that are damaged - shorter telomeres have been linked to heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
“The extremely high dose of sugar that we can put into our body within seconds by drinking sugared beverages is uniquely toxic to metabolism," Prof Epel writes.