Coke and Chicken sounds nice, eh? Read this…


Did you know? Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat.

If you’re trying to lose some weight or trying to gain some muscles, you might want to check off this combo from your menu list or unpair them in your meals. The fact is sugary drinks can ruin your diet in more ways than we previously thought.

In a new paper published July 20 in the journal BMC Nutrition, scientists at the US Department of Agriculture found that participants who ate meals high in protein accompanied by sugary drinks actually burned off fewer calories from fat, leading to a net increase in about 40 calories compared to those who at the same meals but without the sugar-filled beverage.

“Small additions to our diets such as drinking a sugary drink with our meal may have larger consequences than just simply adding calories,” says Shanon Casperson, a research biologist at the USDA and lead author of the paper.

For their work, researchers assembled 27 healthy adults, 14 women and 13 men. Each participant spent 24 hours in a room calorimeter—a setup where a room is fully sealed off to the outside world, and equipment is connected to measure the change in different molecules of air, like carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and oxygen. The combination of gases we breathe out indicates how much and what kind of fuel, like sugar, fat, or proteins, we’re using.

Scientists gave the participants breakfast and lunch; half the group got low-protein meals (7 grams) and the other got high-protein meals (13 grams). They were also given a cherry drink that was made with either sugar (clocking in at 130 calories), or sucralose, the main ingredient in the artificial sweetener Splenda. After at least a week, each participant came back to do the trial again, but this time had meals with the opposite protein level than they ate in the first round.

After eating a meal with a sugary drink, the participants tended to burn off fewer calories from fat. “It’s easier to metabolize carbohydrates,” says Casperson, “That’s why [the body will] use them for energy when they’re available.” So when we have a readily available supply of sugars, the body will use those first before moving to energy stored in fat. The researchers calculated that overall, participates would have burned off about 40 calories less per day if they were to have sugary drink with each meal.

Typically, meals higher in protein make people feel fuller for longer while they burn more energy from their meals. “What we found was that having that sugary drink pretty much negated the beneficial effects of having extra protein in the meal,” says Casperson.

List of Protein-rich food


Seafood is an excellent source of protein because it’s usually low in fat. Fish such as salmon is a little higher in fat, but it is the heart-healthy kind: it has omega-3 fatty acids.

White-Meat Poultry

Stick to the white meat of poultry for excellent, lean protein. Dark meat is a little higher in fat. The skin is loaded with saturated fat, so remove skin before cooking.

Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt

Not only are dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt excellent sources of protein, but they also contain valuable calcium, and many are fortified with vitamin D. Choose skim or low-fat dairy to keep bones and teeth strong and help prevent osteoporosis.


Eggs are one of the least expensive forms of protein. The American Heart Association says normal healthy adults can safely enjoy an egg a day.


One-half cup of beans contains as much protein as an ounce of broiled steak. Plus, these nutritious nuggets are loaded with fiber to keep you feeling full for hours.

Pork Tenderloin

This great and versatile white meat is 31% leaner than it was 20 years ago.


Fifty grams of soy protein daily can help lower cholesterol by about 3%. Eating soy protein instead of sources of higher-fat protein — and maintaining a healthy diet — can be good for your heart.

Lean Beef

Lean beef has only one more gram of saturated fat than a skinless chicken breast. Lean beef is also an excellent source of zinc, iron, and vitamin B12.

Sugary Drinks

Fizzy drinks incurring higher-rate tax – grams of sugar per 100ml
Old Jamaica Ginger Beer Extra Fiery 15.7
Rockstar Punched Guava 15.6
Old Jamaica Ginger Beer 15.2
Mountain Dew 13.0
Coke Cherry 11.2
Pepsi Cola 11.0
Red Bull 11.0
Monster Origin Energy Drink 11.0
7 Up 11.0
Coca Cola 10.6
Fentiman’s Cherrytree Cola 10.5
Irn Bru 10.3
Cherry 7-Up 10.0
San Pellegrino lemon 8.9
Vimto Regular 9.1
Lucozade Energy Original 8.7

source: BBC

Basically, you know all those sugary drinks out there… simply avoid combining them with high protein food as a meal. The study above is still a budding field of research. Casperson says that a lot of the way we break down food varies from person to person. But she also thinks we should be mindful of our drink choices when eating a meal. “Water is a good choice,” she says.

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