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Harvard researchers: sugary drinks linked to early onset of periods

By Megan Yonson |


sugary drinks

  • Harvard researchers have found sugary drinks can trigger the onset of menstruation in young girls.
  • The scientists have also made a link between these drinks and an increase in breast cancer risk later in life.
  • This is more scary news in a long line of such reports: we’ve already talked about sugar’s twisted relationship with fertility problems, gestational diabetes, PCOS and more.

New research from the Harvard Growing Up Today Study (GUTS) in America is blowing up all over the news today. Scientists behind the study are pointing their fingers squarely at sugar in drinks, and no other factors, to the early onset of puberty in girls.

The study, which included a whopping 5,583 girls between nine and 14 years of age, found that girls who drank more than 1.5 servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per day – like soft drinks, fruit drink and sweetened tea – got their periods at least three months earlier than girls who didn’t.

And then there’s this – the study found that early onset of puberty is also correlated with obesity and a higher risk of breast cancer later in life.

Shocking right? Yes, but sadly, not altogether surprising – hormonal and fertility issues have long been blamed on sugar. Here’s some of the science at a glance:

  • Sugar may cause gestational diabetes. Quitting sugar stops the sharp rises and dips in your blood sugar that wreak havoc on many women during pregnancy.
  • Sugar ruins your sex life. The white stuff is shown to ramp up testosterone in females, mucking up normal sexual function. Meanwhile it also dulls the neurotransmitter orexin blunting sexual response in both males and females.
  • Sugar affects your hormones at every age. Whether you’re in your roaring twenties or sexy sixties, sugar has a sinister impact. Read more here.
  • Sugar is a huge factor in women suffering from PCOS. One of the main causes of PCOS is insulin resistance, which is linked to a whole host of issues: from mucking with ovulation, maturation of eggs and implantation of embryos into the uterine lining.
  • Sugar affects PMS. This ties in to the whole sugar-affecting-our-hormones problem.

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