For years we have known about the side effects of drinking soda. The large amounts of sugar can rot your teeth or help contribute to diabetes while the empty calories can cause obesity.
But a study commissioned by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health is showing the liquid sugar, the main ingredient in soda is causing startling changes to little girls’ hormones.
Lead author of the study Harvard Medical School professor Karin Michels said;
“Our findings provide further support for public health efforts to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks. Our study adds to increasing concern about the wide-spread consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks among children and adolescents in the USA and elsewhere.”
“The main concern is about childhood obesity, but our study suggests that age of first menstruation (menarche) occurred earlier, independently of body mass index, among girls with the highest consumption of drinks sweetened with added sugar.”
From 1996 to 2001, the researchers studied 5,583 girls between the ages of 9 and 14. They discovered a link between how much soda they drank and how early they got their period.
They found that those girls drinking more than one-and-a-half cans of soda a day over the five year time frame had their first period 2.7 months earlier than those who consumed two or less of the same drinks per week.
The researchers took into consideration that those who drink a lot of soda are also liable to have poor dietary habits, but their findings took into account other factors that may effect the girls menstrual cycle such as BMI, daily calorie intact, amount of exercise undertaken on a weekly basis and still determined that the excess consumption of sugary drinks was still to blame.
They also factored in that girls who have started to mature early tend to drink more sugary drinks as a direct result of their changing taste buds due to puberty. The study also doesn’t make any statement about whether a three month difference in when a girl gets her first period has any meaningful long term affect on her health.
In a related study it has been shown that over a period of fifty years the age at which girls get their first period has been falling.
The National Omen’s Health Network found that in the United States, 50 percent of Caucasian girls show signs of breast budding before they are even 10 years old, and experts commissioned by the group believe the sugary chemical cocktails that are sodas are to blame for girls pubescent development.