It's not new information that sugary drinks aren't exactly healthy things to put in our bodies. Now, a new study finds that pairing them with high protein meals don't just lead to the storage of more fat in the body, but also boosts cravings for other unhealthy food items.
It's common to find oneself grabbing cold, sweet drinks to go along with meals. However, a new study's findings may just make you pause for a moment before you go grabbing that juice or soda to match that burger. A study published in the journal BMC Nutrition shows that pairing high protein meals with high sugar drinks lead to changes in the body's fat burning capabilities.
In the study, a meal with 15 percent protein paired with a sugar-sweetened drink reduced fat oxidation by an average of 7.2 grams, and a meal with 30 percent protein paired with a sugar-sweetened drink reduced fat oxidation by an average of 12.6 grams. Basically, pairing high sugar drinks with high protein meals decreased fat oxidation by 8 percent.
Further, researchers also found that pairing sugary drinks with high protein meals did not help the participants in feeling fuller, but increased their cravings for salty and savory food.
Essentially, when high protein foods such as meat and with high sugar drinks such as soda are combined in one meal, less fat from the food is burnt, a third of the additional calories from the sweetened drinks is also not burnt, you don't feel any more full, and there will also be an increase in cravings for savory and salty food.
Sealed Chamber Experiment
For the study, 27 participants were asked to stay in isolated rooms equipped with instruments to measure levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, temperature, and air pressure, allowing the researchers to measure the participants' metabolism.
Participants spent two 24-hour periods in the rooms where they were given breakfast and lunch with either a sugary drink or one with artificial sweeteners. Although the protein content of the meals was set to 15 percent and 30 percent, carbohydrate content was adjusted to maintain a specific amount of calories for all meals, and fat content remained at 17 grams in all meals.
Apart from the main finding of the study, researchers also found that an increase in dietary protein decreased hunger and increased satiety, with males feeling hungrier than the females. Interestingly, despite the increased cravings for salty and savory food, there was no observed increase in craving for sweets.
The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.