Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to ban extra-large soft drinks just received an indirect endorsement from a study carried out by the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences at Bangor University in Wales. It turns out our taste buds are not the only parts of our body craving sugar-sweetened soft drinks. So do our muscles, and sodas only need a month to train them.
That was one of the conclusions in a new study from Bangor University in Wales. The team of researchers, led by Dr. Hans-Peter Kubis, found that sugary drinks re-train isolated muscle cells, switching them to an inefficient metabolism after only four weeks. Participants were men and women who were lightly active or lean. Their healthy condition did not protect them against the inroads made by soft drink consumption.
This is not the first time sugar-sweetened beverages have been linked to muscle problems. A study reported in the International Journal of Clinical Practice in 2009 showed that excessive cola consumption led to muscle weakness. In the study from Bangor University, participants were not drinking large amounts of sodas, yet the muscle impact showed up after four weeks.
This study proves that our concerns over sugary drinks have been correct. Not only can regular sugar intake acutely change our body metabolism; in fact it seems that our muscles are able to sense the sugars and make our metabolism more inefficient, not only in the present but in the future as well. This will lead [to] a reduced ability to burn fat and to fat gain. Moreover, it will make it more difficult for our body to cope with rises in blood sugar. What is clear here is that our body adjusts to regular soft drink consumption and prepares itself for the future diet by changing muscle metabolism via altered gene activity – encouraging unhealthy adaptations similar to those seen in people with obesity problems and type 2 diabetes.
Together with our findings about how drinking soft drinks dulls the perception of sweetness, our new results give a stark warning against regularly drinking sugar sweetened drinks.
The soft-drink industry has sales, not health, as its top priority. Results like these show someone else needs to take leadership in combatting the ill effects of sugar-sweetened beverages. If Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal leads to the same positive impact as the city’s 2006 ban on trans fats, New York may become the model for creating a healthy food environment.
The study can be found on the PubMed.gov site.
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