If you needed further science that sugary sodas are bad for you, science is happy to oblige. According to a Harvard report, girls that consume a lot of soda may hit puberty earlier than their peers who do not drink sugary drinks.

Following 5,600 girls, aged 9 to 14 between 1996 and 2001, researchers found that those participants who drank 1.5 servings or more hit puberty nearly 3 months earlier. The findings were independent of the girls’ body mass index, diet and exercise patterns.

“Starting periods early is a risk factor for depression during adolescence and breast cancer during adulthood. Thus, our findings have implications beyond just starting menstruation early,” said study first author Jenny Carwile, a postdoctoral associate at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Participants in the study were required to fill out detailed questionnaire each year about what they ate. Researchers were able to drill down where the sugar was coming from. Soda containing high fructose corn syrup have already been linked to weight gain. Now it leads to early development.

“This is one more nail in soda’s coffin,” she said.

Some scientists are calling it an association, but are quick to admit that soda has no nutritional value. Drinks with added sugar have a high glycemic index, which causes a spike in insulin in the body. This has been linked to early development before, so this study is in line with previous research.

The American Beverage Association was concerned with the lack of cause-and-effect in the research.

“Neither this study nor the body of science shows that sugar-sweetened beverage consumption causes early onset of menarche [first period]. What the body of science supports is that adolescent girls are reaching puberty earlier than prior generations; however, there is no scientific consensus concerning the cause of this trend,” the association said in a statement.

I don’t think we need a wall filled with studies to show drinking a case of coca-cola is bad for your health. Can you drink one here and there? Sure, mainly because I’m drinking one now and steadfastly refuse to give up my vice. Don’t judge, I’m about to go grab some water.

The study is published in the latest Human Reproduction.


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