Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Strange New Reason Why You Shouldn't Drink Sugar With Your Meals

Granted, it's a small study, but its results were interesting.

The study, Postprandial energy metabolism and substrate oxidation in response to the inclusion of a sugar- or non-nutritive sweetened beverage with meals differing in protein content, looked at the impact sugar sweetened beverages had on the appetite suppression benefits of higher protein meals.

The authors note that,
"increasing dietary protein while maintaining energy intake produces a greater and more prolonged thermic effect and greater total energy expenditure",
that protein,
"potentially increases fat oxidation by up to 50%,"
"decreasing protein consumption may stimulate an increase in energy intake in an attempt to maintain a constant absolute intake of dietary protein",
and that,
"a 1.5%E decrease in dietary protein intake increases energy intake from carbohydrates and fats by 14%, perhaps in an attempt to increase protein intake from less protein-rich food sources (and point out that) in a 4-day in-patient ad libitum crossover feeding trial, a 5%E decrease in dietary protein intake produced a 12% increase in total energy intake"
So the authors were curious whether or not the inclusion of a sugary beverage would change the impact that a high protein meal had on consumption, appetite, and fat oxidation, and to explore, they studied those variables in 27 adults (without obesity) on two separate occasions in a direct (room) calorimeter after the consumption of a sugar-sweetened beverage or a non-nutritive sweetened beverage along with meals that varied in protein composition (15% vs. 30%).

The authors found, as expected (and certainly in line with the experiences I've seen among thousands of patients), that meals with higher protein content decreased hunger, increased fullness, and decreased the desire for fatty/salty/savory foods (sweet desires weren't affected).

The authors also found that when consumed along with a higher protein meal, sugar sweetened beverages increased the desire for fatty/salty/savory foods, and simultaneously decreased diet induced thermogenesis (the energy spent on processing/storing food), and fat oxidation (which the authors postulate may lead to a greater tendency of the body to store fat).

All this to say, treating sugar sweetened beverages (including juice) like the liquid candy that they are, and consuming them as treats, in the smallest quantities you need to be happily satisfied, rather than drinking them along with your meals, is probably a good plan.