Sugary Drinks With High-protein Meals May Make You Fat, Study Warns

A recently published study states that consuming sugar-sweetened drinks along with high-protein meals such as lean meat, chicken, fish and dairy products can have negative effects on energy balance, alter their food preferences and decrease fat metabolism.

Findings of the study revealed that those who combined a sugary soda with their high-protein meals stored more unused fat, compared to their counterparts who ate the same food with a sugar-free beverage.

The findings further showed that approximately 1/3 of the extra calories in the bodies of people who had sugar-sweetened drinks with their high-protein meals were not burnt, metabolism of fat was reduced, and their body required less energy to digest the meals.

For those who didn’t know already, a decrease in metabolic efficiency could lead to the body storing more fat.

Pairing sugary drinks with high-protein meals will also intensify your desire to eat more unhealthy salty food for hours after eating breakfast.

“We were surprised by the impact that the sugar-sweetened drinks had on metabolism when they were paired with higher-protein meals. This combination also increased study subjects’ desire to eat savoury and salty foods for four hours after eating,” said lead author Shanon Casperson, from USDA-Agricultural Research Service Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Centre in the US.

For the study, 27 healthy-weight adults-13 males and 14 females- were given two meals – breakfast and lunch – after an overnight fast in two visits. On the first visit, they received meals with 15 percent protein content whereas, in the second visit, two 30 percent protein meals were given to them.

In each study visit, the participants were asked to stay in a sealed “metabolic room” that measured how much oxygen was inhaled and carbon dioxide was exhaled. Urine samples were also collected from them.

The researchers found that when a sugary drink was consumed with a 15 percent protein meal, fat oxidation decreased by 7.2g on average, while an intake of same sugary drink with 30 percent protein meal reduced fat oxidation by 12.6g on average.

“On the intake side, the additional energy from the drink did not make people feel more sated. On the expenditure side, the additional calories were not expended and fat oxidation was reduced,” Dr. Casperson said.

“The results provide further insight into the potential role of sugar-sweetened drinks in weight gain and obesity,” he said.

He, however, admitted that they aren’t sure why adding extra protein to a meal appeared to affect the reduction in fat oxidation.

The research was published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition on 21st July 2017.