Reports continue to show the detriments of soda on the body. Not only is it nutritionally void, it causes obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

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According to researchers from Harvard School of Public Health, liquid sugar is permanently changing little girls’ hormones. The findings were published in the journal Human Reproduction.

“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 study’s lead researcher, Harvard Medical School professor Karin Michels, explained in a press release. “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. These findings are important in the context of earlier puberty onset among girls, which has been observed in developed countries and for which the reason is largely unknown.”

Researchers analyzed how soda might be related to girls getting their periods earlier and earlier by following 5,583 girls between the ages of 9 to 14 throughout 1996 and 2001, discovering a direct link between those who drank more sugary drinks and earlier menstruation. They concluded that consuming more than one-and-a-half sugary drinks a day in the five-year time frame resulted in girls having their first periods 2.7 months earlier than those who consumed two or less of the same drinks a week.

Typically, people who drink a lot of soda have an unhealthy diet, but the researchers’ findings took into account other factors that may affect a girl’s age of first menstruation, including the girls’ BMI, height, daily calories, exercise, and other lifestyle factors, and found soda and other sugary drinks were still to blame.

It is imperative for consumers to be aware of these dangers. Parents should abstain from both giving their children soda and consuming it themselves, as their reproductive health for future children might be compromised.

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“Our findings provide further support for public health efforts to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks,” Michels explained.

While earlier periods have become more apparent over the last 50 years, it’s been of excessive concern as periods in girls have been rapidly falling for over a decade now. Experts believe that early puberty is the result of chemical cocktails like soda.

The researchers also took into consideration that girls who have started to mature early tend to drink more sugary drinks as a result of new tastes they’ve developed from puberty. It also remains to be seen if a three-month difference in when a girl gets her first period has a meaningful impact on her health. According to Dr. Joshua Yang, a pediatric endocrinologist at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Florida, “three months really isn’t that big a deal.”

Nonetheless, the findings further support the necessity to kick the soda habit for good.

Sugary drinks like soda are serious contributors to the obesity epidemic, for instance, and consumption of these beverages continues to spike, with half of the people in America consuming a sugary drink at least once a day.

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