Soda May Shorten Life Span via DNA Damage – New Study

We already knew soda wasn’t good for us, but we didn’t have evidence of it accelerating DNA damage…until now.sodas

A new study by researchers at UCSF (University of California San Francisco) found that people who drink at least 20 oz of sugary soda per day have DNA damage comparable to cigarette smoking.  In fact, based on their DNA, they appear to be about 4 1/2 years older than they really are.

Sugar May Shorten Your Telomeres…which is NOT Good!

Telomeres are essentially a type of protective DNA.  Past research has found that telomeres shorten as we age and in the presence of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, etc.  In other words, you want long telomeres, NOT short ones!

Well, if it’s long telomeres (and long life) you want, then you evidently shouldn’t drink much soda!

Subjects in this study who reported drinking at least 20 oz of sugary soda per day had shorter telomeres than their non-soda-drinking counterparts.  Researchers didn’t find the same with diet soda drinkers.  So it’s apparently the sugar that’s the DNA-damaging culprit.

Here’s what lead researcher, Elissa Epel, had to say:

“Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened sodas might influence disease development, not only by straining the body’s metabolic control of sugars, but also through accelerated cellular aging of tissues.”

What You Should Know….and Do

My recommendation is to avoid drinking your calories.  In other words, only drink beverages that have no calories – water, green tea, and coffee, for example, like I wrote about in Set Your Metabolism on Fire.  (Liquid meals like protein shakes or beverages you’ve ‘juiced’ don’t count in my don’t-drink-your-calories rule, btw.)

If you don’t drink soda, don’t think for a minute that it’s ok to drink other sugary beverages.  I’m quite certain the deleterious effects of any sugar-laden drink would be pretty much the same.

Make sure to read the nutrition value and the ingredients on anything you drink…it’ll do your DNA good.  :)

Your friend in fitness,

Dr Clay


My Advice…Get OUTSIDE!

If there’s one piece of advice I’d practically beg you to take, it’s to GET OUTSIDE!IMG_4876

I used to think it was just me and a few others who really enjoy – and benefit from – getting outside.  But as I’ve talked to more and more people over the years, I’ve found that tons of people swear by the benefits of the great outdoors.

One common theme that comes up is how people find nature ‘spiritual.’  Many say getting outdoors is their preferred method of ‘church’ or getting in touch with the Creator.  I couldn’t agree more.

I’ve never taken anti-depressant medication, but I can tell you firsthand just how uplifting getting outside can be.  For me, it’s much like hitting a reset button…making the stress of life seem more tolerable.

You can kick this get outdoors thing up a notch by exercising outdoors.  My two favorite modes of outdoor exercise are simply walking and bike riding.  They may not burn a ton of calories, but they do burn some…and the benefits go far beyond that, I assure you.

Make it Green

To get the most out of getting outside, I think you should try to get in as natural a setting as possible.

Sure, walking on a sidewalk outside in the city is great, but I suspect you’d get even more out of it if you we out in a more ‘green’ area like a hiking trail or the beach.  In my experience, the more removed you are from man-made ‘stuff,’ the more you’ll benefit.

Tangible Benefits

Here are some of the benefits you’re likely to reap by getting outside.

  • better mood
  • improved ability to ‘live in the moment’
  • reduced stress
  • better sleep
  • better health (via reduced stress and higher vit D levels)
  • improved fitness

My intention was to simply share with you my advice and experience regarding the benefits of getting outside.  However, I couldn’t resist a quick google search of “benefits of getting outside.”  The first result was from Harvard University…pretty cool.

At a later date I’ll write a more scientific piece about the benefits.  Meanwhile, do yourself a favor and go for a walk or ride outside in nature.  I know you’ll be glad you did!

Speaking of getting outside…I’m closing up my laptop now to do just that.  It’s time beach time for me!

Your friend in fitness,



New Article: 3 Supersets for Big Pecs, Lats, and Quads

3 Supersets for Big Pecs, Lats, & QuadsI just realized that I had an article published at T-Nation last Friday…cool surprise!




Blinded by Science: New Study Shows we’re Suckers for Sciency Stuff

A new study from Cornell University (1) found that we are basically suckers for scientific-looking stuff like graphs and chemical formulas.

More About the Study

Researches told a group about a (fake) new drug that boosted immune function and helped protect people from colds.  When they gave them the results of a (fake) study written out in text, 67.7% of subjects thought the drug would work.  When they added a simple bar graph illustrating the exact same results, 96.6% of the subjects said it would work!

Evidently this is REALLY convincing!

Evidently this is REALLY convincing!

The same group did a similar study telling people about the drug (via text only) and asked them how long they thought it would work.  On average the subjects said 3.8 hours.  Another group was shown the chemical formula of this fake drug and asked how long it’d work…they said 5.9 hours!

Looks impressive, right?

Looks impressive, right?

Simply by showing them a chemical formula, people thought the drug would last two hours longer!

Keep this in mind when you’re perusing magazines advertising the (supposed) latest and greatest supplement.



1. study done by Cornell Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University; published in Public Understanding of Science


3 Low GI Carbs You Should be Eating

Before We Begin…what is GI?

GI = Glycemic Index

Glycemic Index = a measure of how quickly a carbohydrate, once eaten, raises your blood sugar; a lower Glycemic Index is typically better as it means the carbohydrate will provide a more sustained or ‘time-released’ source of energy.

Now on to the low-glycemic carbs.

swpot apple quinoa

Sweet Potatoes

Not only do sweet potatoes taste great (at least most people think so), but they also have a rather low glycemic index (roughly 65 depending on the source, method of cooking, etc).

AND they are extremely rich in many nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, copper, and the list goes on.

Just about any time you see someone’s list of “Super Foods,” it’ll have sweet potatoes on it, and for good reason!


Pronounce keen wah, quinoa is another low GI (of about 50) source of carbs that has lots of nutrients.

If you’re wondering what quinoa tastes like…imagine if oats and rice had a baby…it’d be called quinoa.

Btw, it’s great for either breakfast or dinner.  I guess we owe that to it’s hybrid nature.


Fruits sometimes get a bad wrap because they contain ‘fruit sugar.’  (More on this erroneous bad wrap later.)

When it comes to apples, who really cares that they have a few grams of sugar?!  The reason we avoid sugar to begin with is because it spikes our blood glucose (blood sugar).

But apples have a GI of roughly 35, which is extremely low…meaning they do NOT spike your blood sugar, largely because they contain so much fiber.

For these reasons, and because they’re convenient and taste good, I’d highly recommend consuming apples on a regular basis.

Your friend in fitness,

Dr Clay