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5 Drinking Habits That Are Aging You Faster, Say Dietitians

Looking good starts with what you drink
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Trying to maintain your youthful glow feels harder and harder as you get older. At the end of the day, your skin shows off some of the worst wear and tear. The Mayo Clinic pinpointed several factors that lead to an aged exterior: smoking, spending too much unprotected time in the sun, and forgoing moisturizer. Those who partake in these activities tend to end up seeing more wrinkles and a tougher-looking dermis.

Identifying what foods and ingredients you put into your body on a daily basis can also affect how young you look. Certain nutrients like saturated fat or high-carb meals have the potential to make you appear much older than you actually are, and these less-than-wholesome ingredients find their way into your body in more ways than just your daily meals.

You might also see some serious aging based on what kinds of beverages you drink over the course of the day, and keeping track of exactly how you drink can spell the difference between maintaining a healthy glow and developing more wrinkles, stretch marks, and other bodily signs of aging.

In order to identify which hydration habits lead to aging—both inside and out—Eat This, Not That! asked a handful of dietitians what beverages you should or shouldn't enjoy in order to keep convincing the world that you don't look a day over 28 years old.

Breaking some drinking habits can keep you looking good, but if you want to really double down on changing your diet to amp up your looks, you can't go wrong by introducing 6 Foods Proven To Slow the Aging Process at Any Age into your diet.


Downing too much soda every day.

drinking soda or teas

Drinking sugary soda every day can lead to a variety of long-term problems, and unsurprisingly, sugar is the main culprit.

"Besides weight gain, sugar stimulates the production of bad cholesterol, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease," Edibel Quintero, RD, a registered dietitian and Medical Content Author at Health Reporter says. "Moreover, it promotes premature aging and can lead to autoimmune diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis."

If you love soda and don't want to completely cut it out of your life, try mixing it up by drinking 25 Healthy, Low-Sugar Soda Alternatives instead.


Drinking a ton of juice.

woman drinking orange juice

Even if you ditch soda, you aren't totally out of the woods. Despite its healthy public image, juice with added sugar can contain high levels of sugar and can keep you from looking your youngest.

"It is worth giving up… juices, and other beverages with added sugar," Quintero continued. "Instead, a great solution would be to drink water flavored with lemon, strawberry, mint, or [another] favorite fruit."

RELATED: What Happens to Your Body When You Drink Orange Juice


Relying on artificially-sweetened beverages.

artificial sweeteners

If you make the decision to switch a soda or juice out for diet beverages that are sweetened with sugar substitutes, you might unknowingly do equal damage to your looks.

"While many people switch to beverages with non-nutritive sweeteners such as sucralose (Splenda), research has shown that not only do many drinking diet soda not lose weight, some studies show they consume more calories than those drinking sugar-sweetened soda," Mindy Haar, PhD, RDN, a registered dietitian and Assistant Dean at New York Institute of Technology's School of Health Professions said.

"Also, the microbiome, the community of helpful bacteria in the gut that helps with digestion and the immune system, may be affected negatively by sucralose according to preliminary animal research." The microbiome has also been linked to skin health, so making sure it's healthy can be key in maintaining a healthy complexion.


Guzzling alcohol.

man pouring a glass of wine

Anyone who overindulges in beer, wine, and spirits might face problems holding onto their young looks. These problems only get worse with age and if you want to look your best in your golden years, go easy during happy hour.

"Alcohol can lead to more accidents as well as falls and fractures that have more devastating effects as one gets older," Dr. Haar continued. "In addition, overconsumption of alcohol is associated with certain types of cancer and liver damage and in women, may exacerbate previous conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Alcohol may also affect the metabolism of medication and as many older adults take daily medication, they may be more affected by alcohol overuse."

Alcohol has the potential to prematurely age you, but that doesn't even hold a candle to The Worst Side Effect of Drinking Alcohol.


Not drinking enough water.

glass of water

At the end of the day, the key to looking young lies in drinking enough water and staying hydrated. Anyone who forgoes basic glasses of water for other drinks may unknowingly age themself in the process.

"Adequate hydration is important throughout life as water provides the environment for metabolic reaction, as well as a building material for body parts including the skin," Dr. Haar said.

"'Plain' water tops the list of ideal suppliers of necessary liquid with unsweetened tea and coffee helping as well. Drinking the right beverages throughout life supplies the body with the raw material to maintain optimal functioning. Less healthful choices may be associated with chronic diseases, sub-par immune systems, and broken bones which all can decrease the quality of life as one ages."

When in doubt, reach for an extra glass of water. After all, staying hydrated ranks as one of the Proven Ways to Make People Think You're Younger.

Erich Barganier
Erich Barganier is a health and food writer. Read more about Erich
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