A research study conducted as part of an academic research program at the University of North Dakota has found evidence that when drinks with added sugar are consumed alongside meals that contain a large amount of protein, the body’s metabolism becomes less efficient. This triggers the body to increase the amount of fat it creates and stores, which leads to increased weight gain and can result in someone becoming overweight or obese.

The study, published in a journal called BioMed Central, used a metabolic chamber to evaluate participants over 2, 24-hour study visits. A metabolic chamber is an airtight room that allows researchers to quantify how the volunteers’ bodies are using the nutrients they consume. The key metrics evaluated in this case were oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production, and urinary nitrogen excretion.

Each participant ate the exact same foods throughout their testing days; one day consisted of foods with a 15% protein content, the other a 30% protein content. Each meal they consumed was accompanied by either a drink sweetened with sugar, or an artificially-sweetened drink. After a participant consumed a protein rich meal along-side a sugary drink, their fat use and diet-induced thermogenesis decreased by an amount greater than the other combinations of drinks and meals.

As always it is important to not only consider the individual food items you are consuming, but also the sum of these items.

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