European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 937–948

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


  • Francesco Sartor
    • College of Health and Behavioural SciencesBangor University
  • Matthew J. Jackson
    • College of Health and Behavioural SciencesBangor University
  • Cesare Squillace
    • DiSUANUniversity of Urbino “Carlo Bo”
  • Anthony Shepherd
    • College of Health and Behavioural SciencesBangor University
  • Jonathan P. Moore
    • College of Health and Behavioural SciencesBangor University
  • Donald E. Ayer
    • Department of Oncological Sciences, Huntsman Cancer InstituteUniversity of Utah
    • College of Health and Behavioural SciencesBangor University
Original Contribution

DOI: 10.1007/s00394-012-0401-x

Cite this article as:
Sartor, F., Jackson, M.J., Squillace, C. et al. Eur J Nutr (2013) 52: 937. doi:10.1007/s00394-012-0401-x



Chronic sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption is associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Hyperglycaemia contributes to metabolic alterations observed in T2DM, such as reduced oxidative capacity and elevated glycolytic and lipogenic enzyme expressions in skeletal muscle tissue. We aimed to investigate the metabolic alterations induced by SSB supplementation in healthy individuals and to compare these with the effects of chronic hyperglycaemia on primary muscle cell cultures.


Lightly active, healthy, lean subjects (n = 11) with sporadic soft drink consumption underwent a 4-week SSB supplementation (140 ± 15 g/day, ~2 g glucose/kg body weight/day, glucose syrup). Before and after the intervention, body composition, respiratory exchange ratio (RER), insulin sensitivity, muscle metabolic gene and protein expression were assessed. Adaptive responses to hyperglycaemia (7 days, 15 mM) were tested in primary human myotubes.


SSB supplementation increased fat mass (+1.0 kg, P < 0.05), fasting RER (+0.12, P < 0.05), fasting glucose (+0.3 mmol/L, P < 0.05) and muscle GAPDH mRNA expressions (+0.94 AU, P < 0.05). PGC1α mRNA was reduced (−0.20 AU, P < 0.05). Trends were found for insulin resistance (+0.16 mU/L, P = 0.09), and MondoA protein levels (+1.58 AU, P = 0.08). Primary myotubes showed elevations in GAPDH, ACC, MondoA and TXNIP protein expressions (P < 0.05).


Four weeks of SSB supplementation in healthy individuals shifted substrate metabolism towards carbohydrates, increasing glycolytic and lipogenic gene expression and reducing mitochondrial markers. Glucose-sensing protein MondoA might contribute to this shift, although further in vivo evidence is needed to corroborate this.


Soft drinksInsulin resistancePGC1αMondoATXNIP

Supplementary material

394_2012_401_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (4.4 mb)
Supplementary Figure 1. Myocytes grown on microcarriers for 14 days in culture, photographed at ×20 magnficication (B,D) and seeded in conventional culture flasks, 40X magnification (A,C). (PDF 4480 kb)
394_2012_401_MOESM2_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 22 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012