Effects of sucrose, caffeine, and cola beverages on obesity, cold resistance, and adipose tissue cellularity

Am J Physiol. 1983 Apr;244(4):R500-7. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.1983.244.4.R500.


Rats consuming Coca-Cola and Purina chow ad libitum increased their total energy intake by 50% without excess weight gain. Their resistance to cold was markedly improved. These phenomena were characterized by significant increases in interscapular brown adipose tissue weight (IBAT) (91%), cellularity (59%), triglyceride content (52%), protein content (94%), and cytochrome oxidase activity (167%). In contrast, Coca-Cola consumption did not significantly affect the cellularity or triglyceride content of parametrial white adipose tissue (PWAT), although it slightly augmented PWAT weight. The effects of Coca-Cola on cold resistance, IBAT cellularity, and composition were entirely reproduced by sucrose, but not caffeine, consumption. Although caffeine also increased IBAT cellularity and composition, it significantly decreased the rate of body weight gain, PWAT weight, and adipocyte size. Moreover, it markedly inhibited adipocyte proliferation in PWAT thereby mimicking the effects of exercise training and food restriction (Bukowiecki et al., Am. J. Physiol. 239 (Endocrinol. Metab. 2): E422-E429, 1980). It is concluded a) that sucrose and Coca-Cola consumption improve the resistance of rats to cold, most probably by increasing brown adipose tissue cellularity, and b) that moderate caffeine intake might be useful for inhibiting proliferative activity in white adipose tissue, thereby preventing obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology*
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / cytology*
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / pathology
  • Animals
  • Beverages*
  • Body Temperature Regulation / drug effects*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Carbonated Beverages*
  • Female
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Shivering / drug effects
  • Sucrose / pharmacology*


  • Caffeine
  • Sucrose