Research by an Aberdeen scientist has revealed sugary drinks, rather than sweet treats, lead to more weight gain.
Professor John Speakman, who led the study, conducted it to determine whether the way sugar was consumed would affect the likelihood of weight gain.
It was found that mice who were given a sugary drink gained weight – but mice who ate the same amount of sugar in a solid form did not.
Body weight, body composition, energy intake and expenditure were monitored with the results showing consumption of sugary liquids led to body fat gain, as well as impaired glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, highlighting an increased risk of diabetes.
The study, published in the online science journal Molecular Metabolism, was produced in a partnership between Aberdeen University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.
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Professor Speakman said: “Obesity, diabetes and other metabolic-related disorders remain on the rise globally and it is widely agreed that the main cause of obesity is an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure.
“However, we need to better understand factors that may affect this metabolic dysregulation.
“The consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been widely implicated as a contributing factor in obesity and we investigated whether the mode of ingestion (solid or liquid) had different impacts on body weight regulation in mice.
“There has been a lot of concern recently over the intake of sugary drinks, and if humans respond in the same way as mice do, then these concerns may be entirely justified.”
The study compared the results of diets containing 73% of calories from sugar in either a standard rodent pellet or in drinking water for eight weeks.
It was funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences Strategic Programme, the 1,000 Talents programme and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.