The typical age of puberty among girls is between eight and 13 and it normally ends around the age of 14. However, it is now often observed that some girls are reaching puberty earlier than before. According to research studies, toxic foods and their consumption might be the probable reason behind this. Studies conclude that these toxic foods include,
- Caffeinated drinks
- Artificially-sweetened juices
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
- High-sodium foods
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study reporting that caffeinated soft drinks, when highly consumed, onset early puberty in girls. The research observed 1,988 American girls and continued for 10 years. Scientists looked at the prospective associations between early menstruation and the consumption of artificially-sweetened soft drinks, caffeinated sugar, and non-caffeinated sugar. Furthermore, the association between early onset puberty and consumption of caffeine, aspartame, fructose, and sucrose were also interrogated. The respective study reveals that the intake of caffeinated and artificially-sweetened beverages with aspartame added to the likelihood of early puberty in girls.
Another journal named Human Reproduction issued a research that discovered the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to cause early menstruation among girls. The research team involved the prospective cohort study called The Growing up Today Study. It observed 5,583 American girls ranging from nine years old to 14 years old. They looked at the girls’ consumption of non-carbonated fruit drinks, sugar-sweetened soda, and iced tea. The results concluded that girls drinking more sugar-sweetened beverages started menstruating early. The girls who consumed more than 1.5 servings every day exhibited a 24 percent elevated risk of early puberty.
High salt intake also causes early puberty
The researchers from the University of Wyoming report that high salt intake also triggers early puberty. According to the study, a high-salt diet like the Western diet may cause puberty via three different mechanisms. Note that these mechanisms are not mutually exclusive and are as follow,
- Activation of a hormone called neurokinin-B by high salt. It is involved in both the reproduction axis and salt regulation.
- High salt may trigger the release of a hormone known as vasopressin. It stimulates gonadotropin-releasing hormone and subsequently luteinizing hormone secretion. Most importantly, it encourages ovulation and the formation of corpus luteum.
- The third possible mechanism is the induction of metabolic changes by high salt intake. It affects the reproductive axis.
Early puberty comes with greater health risks
Girls who experience early puberty face many health problems. One of the common examples is depression. The journal Pediatrics published a study assessing data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. It followed and observed around 8,000 women for 14 years and concluded that “the girls who experience menarche earlier than usual had higher odds of experiencing depressive symptoms.” They exhibit antisocial behaviors as adolescents and as young adults.
In addition, early puberty in girls adds to the risk of obesity. A study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, reveals that girls with early menstruation tend to have a higher body mass index (BMI). Thus, they have greater chances of becoming overweight or obese as adults.
To avoid all the problems mentioned above, young girls are advised to limit their intake of caffeine, aspartame, sugar-sweetened beverages, and salt. They should go for a healthy, organic diet including probiotic foods and supplements. Most importantly, they should refrain from chemical additives, genetically modified foods, hormone- and antibiotic-induced meat proteins, and environmental pollutants.