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New Ways of Tackling the Obesity epidemic
CHORI Scientists Demonstrate that Drinking High Calorie Drinks May Favor Weight Gain and Obesity

July, 2012- An Advances in Nutrition publication, e-published in July by CHORI scientists Jodi Stookey, PhD, Janet King, PhD, and their colleagues, demonstrates for the first time that consuming high caloric beverages not only increases caloric intake but may in fact increase weight gain and obesity by decreasing the body’s ability to burn fat.

“Most people believe that high calorie drinks promote obesity by causing excess energy intake,” says Dr. Stookey. “What our study highlights is that high calorie drinks actually negatively impact both energy input and output.”

“High calorie drinks actually negatively impact both energy input and output.”



Building on known data that consumption of high calorie drinks has increased in conjunction with the overall obesity epidemic in the United States, the study compared fat oxidation (the ability to burn fat) when orange juice was consumed with a meal as opposed to only water.

"The exercise drink industry has decades showing that high sugar energy drinks are better than water," says Dr. Stookey. "They've demonstrated pretty clearly that when you drink an energy drink, you stop burning fat and you burn carbohydrates instead. While this is great for enhancing athletic performance, I wanted to know how this applied to people exercising for weight loss, or even more importantly, for people who don't exercise."

On two separate days, healthy normal-weight participants consumed the same breakfast having 12 grams of fat with either orange juice or drinking water. After resting for three hours, participants' fat oxidation was compared on each of the two days. The results were striking.

"Our study showed that just drinking water with your meal rather than a high calorie drink makes you 30 percent more efficient at burning fat after each meal," says Dr. Stookey.
“It’s not that the sugar is turning into fat, but that you can’t get rid of the fat you consume if you’re consuming sugar with it.”
According to Dr. Stookey, an individual at rest burns an average of 5 grams of fat per hour. That means that the most a person not exercising could burn in a 24 hour period about 120 grams. That rate, however, becomes extremely depressed when you add sugar.

"If you figure there are about 20 grams of fat in the average cheeseburger, it would take you 4 hours to burn the fat you consumed. If you consume a sugary drink with that cheeseburger, it could take 6 hours or more to burn the fat you consume. If you're like most people, and eat another meal before that six hours is up, and consume another sugary drink with that meal, too, you're never giving your body the opportunity to burn any of the fat you are consuming."
Doctors generally recommend eating less and exercising as being the key components to maintaining a healthy weight, or losing weight. And while it's true that jogging, for example, can burn as many as 60 grams of fat, the reality is that not everyone can or will manage their weight with exercise. What Dr. Stookey's new study shows is that there are other ways that individuals can help themselves burn fat even while at rest.

“What our study shows is that even without exercising, you can maximize the amount of fat you’re burning just by drinking water when you are consuming fatty foods instead of drinking a beverage that has sugar in it, whether it’s naturally occurring sugar like in orange juice, or added sugar in an energy drink or soft drink.”

As Dr. Stookey explains, "It's just as true as ever that exercise is the best way of burning fat, but what we've shown is that you can also manage how you burn fat by avoiding sugars at the time that you're eating fats. It isn't just a matter of picking high fat or low fat, high carbohydrate or low carbohydrate, but the combination of the sugar and the fat together."

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Friday, December 28, 2012 1:29 PM

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