The National Institute of Health (NIH) awarded Augusta University physiologist Ruth Harris $1.6 million to study the health effects of soft drinks on people.
The four year grant will be used to determine why the sugar sucrose is more potent, or causes weight gain faster, when drank in the form of a soda than when it is eaten as solid food, Harris told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The National Institute of Health is the medical research wing of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“I’ve been doing energy balance research for nearly 40 years so this [study] just fits well with what I’ve been doing,” Harris said.
Harris will use lab rats for the study, feeding them sugar water and measuring their bodies’ response. Harris’ research focuses on the hormone leptin, which helps control body composition.
“We have found that rats given access to sucrose solution in addition to their regular diet rapidly develop leptin resistance without becoming obese,” Harris’ Augusta University biography says.
The $1.6 million grant will cover four years of research, at the end of which Harris will have to finish her research on the project or reapply to the NIH for more funding.
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