Drinking Soda, Eating Processed Foods Linked to Early Death

By Mallory Creveling  Apr 28th 2010 12:27PM

Categories: News

Researchers have found yet another reason for people to stop drinking soda and eating processed foods: it can lead to early death.

A new study published in the ”FASEB Journal” found that high levels of phosphates like those found in soda and processed foods, accelerated signs of aging. Phosphates also increased the prevalence and severity of age-related complications, such as chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular calcification, and may stimulate muscle and skin atrophy, according to the study.

The body uses phosphorous to build and repair bones and teeth, help nerves function and make muscles contract. When found in excess in the blood or urine, it can be a sign of kidney problems and high levels of phosphate in the blood affect the blood’s calcium levels.

In the study, the researchers analyzed high levels of phosphates in three groups of mice.

The first group of mice was missing the gene klotho that, when absent, led to toxic levels of phosphate in the mice’s bodies. These mice lived eight to 15 weeks.

The second group of mice was missing the klotho gene and the gene, NaPi2a. When both of these genes were absent simultaneously, it lowered the amount of phosphate in the mice’s bodies. These mice lived 20 weeks.

Finally, for the third group of mice, which was missing the klotho and NaPi2a genes like the second group, researchers fed them a high-phosphate diet. These mice lived only 15 weeks.

Researchers believe these findings suggest that phosphate has toxic effects in mice and may act similarly in humans.

“Humans need a healthy diet and keeping the balance of phosphate in the diet may be important for a healthy life and longevity,” M. Shawkat Razzaque, M.D., Ph.D., of the Department of Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and the study’s researcher, said in a statement. “Avoid phosphate toxicity and enjoy a healthy life.”

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