18/03/2013 13:15 GMT | Updated 18/05/2013 06:12 BST

139 Fattening Calories Whether You Exercise or Not

A couple of weeks ago Coca-Cola launched a new advert in the UK called Be OK! The advert offers consumers suggestions for activities which, when combined, can help to burn off the 139 calories in a can of Coca-Cola. Twenty-five minutes of walking a dog, 10 minutes of dancing, 75 seconds of laughing and one short victory dance at a bowling alley to make you laugh and so more susceptible to the power of suggestion, all add up to 139 calories. You might be thinking "Well this is great! I can still have my daily can of Coca-Cola and still have a balanced lifestyle!"

What Coca-Cola have neglected to show in this advert is some research that Bangor University did last year showing that having 1 can of a sugar-sweetened beverage a day increases fat gain and inhibits fat metabolism regardless of how many calories you're having. [1]

The research was only conducted over four weeks and the results were astounding to say the least, despite it being such a short amount of time! Quick question, how long have you been drinking a can of sugar-sweetened beverage a day for? The participants were lightly active, healthy and lean with sporadic soft drink consumption and were given 1 sugar-sweetened beverage a day. After the 4 weeks the conclusion of the study was "Four weeks of SSB supplementation in healthy individuals shifted substrate metabolism towards carbohydrates, increasing glycolytic and lipogenic gene expression and reducing mitochondrial markers."

In a nutshell when drinking a can of sugar-sweetened beverage daily your metabolism shifts to burning the sugar in your body rather than the fat, meaning that even if you do the aforementioned activities you aren't going to necessarily "balance" out your energy intake.

Dr Hans-Peter Kubis, who led the research, concluded: "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 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."[2]

I realise this seems like a rather bleak and pessimistic article but I assure you I'm positive about the future. There are many people who are starting to stand up to the big food companies who have gone unregulated for years shifting sugar like a drug dealer, making their foods ever more addictive, just like Dr. Robert Lustig who has done some ground breaking research into sugar and it's toxicity. [3]

As well as my fellow Huffington Post blogger Dr. Aseem Malhotra in the UK who recently co-authored a report called "Measuring Up" which outlines the medical profession's prescription for the nation's obesity crisis, one of the recommendations being a sugary drinks tax. [4]

On Thursday 28th March at 13.00 GMT I will be interviewing Dr. Aseem Malhotra LIVE on "How Sugar Is Killing Us...Slowly But Surely" Feel free to post questions to him before and during the interview as well as re-watching it when you like right here >>


1. Adaptive metabolic response to 4 weeks of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in healthy, lightly active individuals and chronic high glucose availability in primary human myotubes.

2. Drinking sugar-sweetened soft drinks leads to fat gain

3. Sugar is as addictive as cocaine, and causes obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease: Researchers

4. Doctors Unite to deliver 'prescription' for UK Obesity epidemic