You already know a diet bursting with burgers isn’t good for your heart or your overall health. But, new research now reveals what you sip with your sliders may cause the scales to tip even more (and not in your favor). In a recent study, scientists found that combining a sugary soda with a burger can spur the body to pack on more pounds.
In the study, experts found that participants who enjoyed a sweetened drink (like pop) with a protein-packed meal (think a big burger or plate of fried chicken) stored more unused fat, compared to other people who ate the same food with a sugar-free beverage. More specifically, scientists found that the participants bodies did not burn about a third of the additional calories provided by the sugary drink and these individuals also burned less total fat from their food.
Why? “Sugary drinks contain carbohydrates,” explains Kathryn Troyer, a clinical dietician specialist at Indiana University Health. “And whenever you add more carbs to your meal, you add calories. Fat is more difficult to burn than sugar, so it’s the body’s natural inclination to burn the carbs first. So, the fat you’d consume from eating the burger would then not be used, it would be stored, which could lead to weight gain.”
As for the study’s authors, they say the combo of consuming sugar/carbs and protein seems to decrease how well human bodies can burn fat. They state that while more research needs to be done, steering individuals away from this combo could potentially be another tool when counseling people on weight management.
In the interim, Troyer says, when it comes to a healthy diet, it’s wise to consume all things in moderation (one burger a week is wiser than daily) and when possible, pick smarter sips like water or select sugar-free drinks.
Not a fan of sugar-free? “Water down regular soda by pouring half a glass with pop and the other half with water,” suggests Troyer. “Or better yet, consider adding berries, lemons, limes, melon or cucumbers to your water glass to infuse some refreshing and healthy natural flavors.”
-- By Sarah Burns