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Soft drink ruins slimming effect of high-protein diet

Increasing the amount of protein in your diet - replacing as many carbs and fats as possible - is the best dietary strategy if you want to lose weight but retain muscle mass. But allowing yourself toxic fast sugars in the form of soft drinks undermines this strategy, according to a small but detailed human study that sports scientist Shanon Casperson, of the United States Department of Agriculture, published in BMC Nutrition.

Casperson shut 34 participants up for a day in a metabolic chamber on two different occasions. A metabolic chamber measures extremely accurately the amount of energy and fat people burn.

On one occasion in the chamber the participants were given breakfast and lunch containing a standard quantity of protein [15 energy percent]; on the other occasion they were given breakfast and lunch containing twice as much protein [30 energy percent]. Both meals contained 500 kilocalories and 17 g fat. [Details]

Soft drink ruins slimming effect of high-protein diet

Some of the participants drank a soft drink containing sugar [SSB] with their meal, and on the other occasion they drank a soft drink containing no sugars [NNSB].

The protein-rich meals boosted the amount of energy the participants expended per kg bodyweight. Adding two glasses of a sweetened soft drink prevented a significant increase in energy expenditure from happening. The body only used a limited amount of the extra calories from the soft drink, and transformed the remaining calories into abdominal fat and love handles.

Soft drink ruins slimming effect of high-protein diet

Soft drink ruins slimming effect of high-protein diet
The sugars in the soft drinks reduced fat burning too.

In this study a high-protein diet also reduced appetite and energy intake. When the participants drank a glass of sugar-sweetened drink with their meal - high protein or not - the satiating effect of their meals did not increase.

Soft drink ruins slimming effect of high-protein diet

"We found that about a third of the additional calories provided by the sugar-sweetened drinks were not expended and fat metabolism was reduced", Shanon Casperson summarised her findings in a press release. [ July 21, 2017] "This decreased metabolic efficiency may 'prime' the body to store more fat."

"Our findings suggest that having a sugar-sweetened drink with a meal impacts both sides of the energy balance equation."

"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. The results 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."

BMC Nutrition 2017 3:49.

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