Is mixing sugar and protein the biggest mistake you’ve made?

What happens when you mix sugar with protein? Good, bad, horrible?

Have you ever finished a meal and felt hungry shortly after? It’s a lot more common than you think; that is if you’re pairing anything sugary with your meal. Whether it’s a soda, a fruit juice, or a protein shake, you’re not doing your body any favors if you’re adding sugar with your proteins.


BMC Nutrition Journal published a study in July about the dangers of pairing sugar-sweetened drinks with protein-rich meals. Doing so will affect your energy balance, change your food preferences (for worse), and cause the body to store more fat instead of burning fat.


Dr. Shanon Casperson, lead author and researcher, said: "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. This decreased metabolic efficiency may 'prime' the body to store more fat."


Sugary drinks will completely ruin your diet and how your body processes fats. Researchers discovered that sugary drinks like soda or fruit juice will decrease fat oxidation after a meal by eight percent! Fat oxidation helps fuel the breakdown of fat molecules, but when its decreased, it will instead burn off the sugar and store the fat in your body.


Researchers used 27 young adults (13 males and 14 females with the average age being 23 23) at a healthy weight and conducted two 24-hour studies on them. The adults in the first study were fed two 15 percent protein meals at breakfast and lunch and then were given two 30 percent protein meal for breakfast and lunch the next day. Each meal had the same food with 500 kcals and 17g of fat. Participants were given a sugary drink with one of the meals and a non-sugar beverage with the other meal.


According to, “Study subjects were housed in room calorimeter, a chamber that measures activity, oxygen, carbon dioxide, temp, and pressure to figure out energy expenditure and nutrient processing by the body.”


The meals with the sugary drinks showed shocking results: sugary drinks lowered fat oxidation by 8 percent — participants eating the 15 percent protein meal suffered a 7g loss while participants in the 30 percent protein meal lost about 13g.


The sugar-sweetened beverages took a big hit on the participants’ metabolisms, even after eating a high-protein meal. Casperson observed that the participants started craving salty and savory foods for as long as four hours after eating their meal.


This discovery helped researchers like Dr. Casperson understand how sugary drinks affect the human body, especially during and mealtimes.


“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,” Dr. Casperson said.


“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.”




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