ATLANTA (February 24, 2012) — A new study shows that using diet soda can help shed pounds. For the study, conducted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, researchers randomly assigned 318 overweight adults to one of three groups: one that drank water; one that drank diet beverages; and a control group (who only received dietary counseling, along with the other groups). After six months, both groups (water and diet soda) lost four or five pounds, on average. However, those consuming diet beverages had a greater calorie reduction and there was a decrease in calories from food intake as well. The two groups that drank water and diet soda were more likely to shed at least five percent of their starting weight: 20 percent did, versus 11 percent of the control group. Those consuming diet beverages lost the greatest amount of weight. Both those consuming water and diet beverages were 2 times as likely to lose 5% of their body weight, which has been shown to have important effects on health.
The findings, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, are based on adults who were significantly obese.
Those consuming diet beverages had better compliance and the study authors noted the following, “The greater adherence to intake of [diet beverages] DBs over time may have been due to the variety of flavors (36) or similar properties to the caloric beverage (e.g., caffeinated), which suggests that it may be easier for consumers of caloric beverages to replace their beverages with non-caloric sweetened alternatives.”
This study adds to the growing body of scientific literature supporting the notion that consumption of low-calorie foods and beverages can assist with weight loss in humans. At least 13 other studies have similar findings, including a literature review of 45 studies on low-calorie sweeteners that found low-calorie sweeteners helped control caloric intake, and body weight, by making low-calorie foods tastier.
According to Beth Hubrich, a dietitian with the Calorie Control Council, this study is good news for people looking for simple, easy and effective ways to reduce calories and lose weight. “Making small, simple changes you can live with over a lifetime is a great way to reduce calories and ultimately lose weight. This study supports the notion that small changes, such as choosing a diet soda, can be helpful in overall weight loss.”