Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Sugar-sweetened beverages associated with older biological age | Elissa Epel

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- [Rhonda]: Back to the sugar-sweetened beverages you mentioned because I did read that study,

your study that was on the sugar-sweetened beverages and how that was associated with

accelerated telomere shortening by something like close to five years or something.

I think if I remember correctly it was something like that.

Where people that were drinking, you know, a lot of these sodas and sugar-sweetened beverages

had their biological age as marked by a telomere length looked older than their actual chronological


And so that was quite disturbing.

- [Elissa]: Right.

You know, that sugared beverage finding has been replicated many times by now.

And it's not surprising because liquid sugar has been more of an effect than sugar in food.

It does cause, you know, a big metabolic disturbance immediately.

And so if you're drinking that every day, you should expect to have...across the spectrum

of aging biomarkers to have them be accelerated.

And so, you know, it's coming out to be one of the biggest predictors of obesity and diabetes,

which...I'm talking about processed sugar, not just calories, particularly liquid sugar.

So, you know, we can all do our best to not have it.

But what's even more powerful is when we get rid of it in our environment.

So we just completed a study at our university where we just... this university banned all

sugar beverages.

It's because...

I mean, it's just so ridiculous.

- [Rhonda]: That's awesome.

- [Elissa]: Yeah, it's awesome, it's amazing.

- [Rhonda]: Go UCSF.

- [Elissa]: I mean, it's so ironic that you go into, you know, many hospital cafeterias

and that's the drink that they're selling and you know... so bottom line is that it

reduced drinking dramatically, and it reduced waist size just getting rid of it at work.

People could still have it at home, they can still bring it to work.

So those are kind of things...

- [Rhonda]: Limiting the access.

- [Elissa]: We have to think about.

Like you know, your child's eventual school and these environments that you want to keep

children who are still developing habits surrounded by the healthy choices.

- [Rhonda]: Right.

I remember reading... and this was an animal study where should these sugar-sweetened beverages

activated dopamine pathways and like a reward pathway in the brain.

Similar to like some very bad recreational drugs.

I mean, not the wasn't as robust but like Methamphetamine.

I mean these things.

And I mean, you know, that is definitely I would say pretty scary that there's an addictive

aspect to the sugar as well.

- [Elissa]: Well, I mean, I think that cannot be understated about why that is an epidemic

that we cannot control yet.

So in health span, we're doing okay preventing people from dying from diseases, right, because

we have medications and diagnostics.

And so heart disease, stroke, like people are dying less from those, we're doing so

well at keeping people alive and reducing those diseases.

But at the same time, while those incidents and deaths are going down, the obesity incidence

is going up.

We cannot control it, we don't have a medication for it, and it's addictive.

- [Rhonda]: And I think you just brought up a really good point.

I mean, if medication is doing one thing where it's sort of like maybe extending a couple

of years of your life because you're not gonna have a heart attack or stroke as soon but

you're not fixing the problem, the cause of the problem which could be your unhealthy

diet or a variety of other types of psychological stress or a combination of them lack asleep.

So it is really important to address, you know, the problem, what's causing you to,

you know, be at a higher risk for type two diabetes or cardiovascular disease, or stroke,

and address that problem.

Because where a medication may help give you a couple more years, the quality isn't gonna

be improved ...

- [Elissa]: That's right.

- [Rhonda]: ...if you don't fix it.

- [Elissa]: That's right and quality is what matters.

And then if you're having a toxic lifestyle, if you're sedentary and you're eating a junk

food diet, that medication is not going to outweigh those big lifestyle effects.

So like, let's take Metformin.

Lots of people take Metformin for anti-aging, it's one of the very few pills that we have

in sight that is probably slowing aging in some ways.

But if you're taking Metformin and you're still eating a lot of sugar, like many people

with diabetes are doing because they know, their brain is wired that way right

now with the hedonic addiction, that Metformin is doing very, very little.

And so it's just an example of like, you know, let's work on these drugs, we absolutely need

some breakthroughs to slow aging.

But we cannot do it in this context of a toxic lifestyle.

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