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Sugary Drinks Decrease The Body’s Ability To Burn Fat, Study Says

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Adding sugary drinks to a meal rich in protein may lead to the body storing more fat, compared to washing down a meal with plain drinks, a new study says.

According to this research, when people add a sugary drink, like soda, to a meal containing plenty of protein, like a cheeseburger, the ability of the body to burn fat goes down by 8% on average, Live Science reports. Also, drinking sugary drinks increases food cravings after a meal.

Shanon Casperson, a research biologist at the U.S.  Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and lead author on the study, said, “We were surprised by the impact that the sugar-sweetened drinks had on metabolism when they were paired with higher-protein meals.” She added,

This combination also increased study subjects’ desire to eat savory and salty foods for four hours after eating.

Previous studies have found that people who eat more protein experience some changes in how their body processes food, and in how much they consume. For example, there has been evidence that eating more protein can result in the body’s fat-burning abilities also increasing.

But adding sugary drinks to the mix slows down the whole process.

The researchers recruited 27 young adults, gave them special meals and put them in “room calorimeters” for observation. The rooms contained a bed, a toilet, a sink, furniture, and equipment to measure oxygen, carbon dioxide, temperature and air pressure. These allowed the researchers to calculate how the food affected metabolism, calories burned, and breakdown of fat, protein and carbohydrates.

After being served meals that contained either sugar or artificial sweeteners for two 24-hour periods, the researchers found that when a sugary drink was served with a meal, fat burning abilities in the participants dropped by 8%, compared to when the drink was artificially sweetened.

In addition, the sugary drinks added more calories, but the participants reported not feeling any fuller after the meal. Casperson said these findings “provide further insight into the potential role of sugar-sweetened drinks — the largest single source of sugar in the American diet — in weight gain and obesity.”

The study was published in the journal BMC Nutrition.

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