Weight loss benefits of diet drinks
Is a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children’s Center for Digestive Health Care / GI Care for Kids, whose books on nutrition for parents led him to start Nutrition4Kids with his co-founders.
I must admit, I am one of those nutritionists who has always recommended WATER as my favorite diet drink to help people lose weight. Drink a glass or more 20 minutes before meals-and keep drinking during the meal to fill you up and lessen what you eat.
I am not a big fan of diet sodas as an alternative to regular sodas or juice. Water, water, water has always been my mantra. Cheaper and healthier. But neither may be true anymore.
With so many people drinking bottled instead of tap water, about 50 billion bottles of water were consumed in the US last year, an average of 167 per person (with less than 1/4 of those recycled). At 50 cents each, that's over $80, and that doesn't count what you would pay with a vending machine or from a refreshment stand. So there's not much savings unless you filter and drink tap water, which is better for the environment and your wallet.
And healthier? Recent research published in Obesity (2014; 22:1415-21) from the University of Colorado, suggests that diet soda may have a role in losing weight.
Surprising Results of a New Study
A 12-week weight loss program in 303 adults, average age 48 years with 82 percent females. The participants were assigned to 2 groups. In one group, they were asked to consume at least 24 ounces (oz) of diet drinks daily; the other group was asked to drink at least 24 oz of water each day and no diet drinks. Everything else was the same. The first group could even drink water when they wanted and they all were enrolled in a behavioral management program to help them lose weight.
The group that drank diet drinks actually lost more in the 12 weeks than the water group. An average of 4 pounds more. The reason? Probably because those who drank the sodas said they felt less hunger than those who drank water. And that's only in the first 12 weeks.
And while we have to wait for their results in the 9 month maintenance phase of the trial, I have to admit that for adults who are overweight, diet sodas may make sense, based on this study.
As far as my recommendations for children, I really don't want them drinking all those sugary – tasting drinks, and getting used to sweet foods and drinks. But for those who are seriously overweight or on the verge, diet drinks may be beneficial.
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