Drinking a sugar-sweetened drink with a high protein meal primes your body to store more fat, according to a new study.
Researchers found that sugary drinks decrease fat oxidation, the process that begins the breakdown of fat molecules. The more protein in the meal, the more fat oxidation decreases.
For example, a sugary drink with a 15% protein meal decreased fat oxidation by an average of 7.2 grams. With a 30% protein meal, the decrease jumped to 12.6 grams, and so forth.
“We found that about a third of the additional calories provided by the sugar-sweetened drinks were not expended, fat metabolism was reduced, and it took less energy to metabolize the meals,” according to Dr. Shanon Casperson, lead study author. “This decreased metabolic efficiency may ‘prime’ the body to store more fat.”
To put this in context, a decent-size hamburger may weigh around 130 grams, about 30 of which are protein. If you slam it down with a glass of sugar-sweetened soda, this study predicts that your fat metabolism will decrease somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 grams.
And that’s not all that happens, report the researchers. “This combination [of a sugar-sweetened drink with a high protein meal] also increased study subjects’ desire to eat savory and salty foods for four hours after eating.”