Obesity Study Suggests Diet Beverages Play Positive Role In Weight Loss, Refuting Contrary Claims

Posted On: 5/28/2014

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TAGS: vending, soda vending, diet drink study, Obesity, The Obesity Society, Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, Temple University's Center for Obesity Research and Education, John C. Peters, diet beverages weight loss

A new study to be published in the June issue of Obesity, the journal of The Obesity Society, demonstrates that drinking diet beverages helps people lose weight. The findings counter recent research that suggests diet drinks fuel a preference for sweet foods and drinks and contribute to weight gain.

Conducted simultaneously by researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center in Aurora, CO, and Temple University's Center for Obesity Research and Education in Philadelphia, the study shows subjects who consumed diet beverages lost an average of 13 lbs. -- 44% more than the control group, which lost an average of 9 lbs. More than half of the participants in the diet beverage group -- 64% -- lost at least 5% of their body weight, compared with only 43% of the control group.

The 12-week clinical study of 303 participants is reportedly the first randomized clinical trial to directly compare the effects of water and diet beverages on weight loss within a behavioral weight loss program.

"There's so much misinformation about diet beverages that isn't based on studies designed to test cause and effect, especially on the Internet," said John C. Peters, co-author of the study and the chief strategy officer of the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. "This research allows dieters to feel confident that low- and no-calorie sweetened beverages can play an important and helpful role as part of an effective and comprehensive weight loss strategy."

Study participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: those who were allowed to drink diet beverages, such as diet sodas, teas and flavored waters, or those who were in a control group that drank water only. With the exception of beverage options, both groups followed an identical diet and exercise program for the duration of the study.

In addition to losing 44% more weight than the control group, the diet beverage group reported feeling significantly less hungry; showed significantly greater improvements in serum levels of total cholesterol; and saw a significant reduction in serum triglycerides. Both diet soda and water groups saw reductions in waist circumference, and blood pressure.