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Study supports diet soda’s potential for weight management

05.30.2014

Consuming diet sodas along with a weight loss program may lead to shedding more pounds than when water alone is consumed along with the weight loss program, says a new study from the University of Colorado and sponsored by the American Beverage Association.
According to findings published in Obesity , the clinical study involving 303 participants found that the diet beverage group lost an average of 13 pounds over the 12 weeks of study, compared with an average loss of 9 pounds in the water group.
“This study clearly demonstrates that diet beverages can in fact help people lose weight, directly countering myths in recent years that suggest the opposite effect – weight gain,” said James Hill, PhD, executive director of the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center and a co-author of the study.
“In fact, those who drank diet beverages lost more weight and reported feeling significantly less hungry than those who drank water alone. This reinforces that if you’re trying to shed pounds, you can enjoy diet beverages.”
Study details
Peters and his co-workers recruited 303 people with an average age of 47.8 and an average BMI of 33.6 kg.m2 to participate in their prospective, randomized clinical trial. Participants were assigned to a behavioral weight loss program with either diet beverages (diet sodas, teas and flavored waters) or water only for 12 weeks.
Results showed that, in addition to the diet group losing an average of 44% more weight than the water group, the diet beverage group reported feeling significantly less hungry, and showed significantly greater improvements in serum levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Both groups saw reductions in waist circumference, and blood pressure, added the researchers.
“These results strongly suggest that [non-nutritive sweetened] beverages can be part of an effective weight loss strategy and individuals who desire to consume them should not be discouraged from doing so because of concerns that they will undermine short-term weight loss efforts,” they concluded.

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