Dr. Hans-Peter Kubis of Bangor University in England said the research showed regularly drinking soft drinks changed the way muscles use food as fuel, making them prefer to burn sugars over fats.
"This study proved 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," Kubis said in a statement.
"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."
The study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, found the switch to an inefficient metabolism was seen in the participants who were lightly active, lean male and females drinking soft drinks for only four weeks.
"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," Kubis concluded.