New Studies Support Use of Low-Calorie Sweeteners for Weight Management
While some may tout water as the ideal beverage for weight loss, diet soda drinkers needn’t put down their preferred beverage just yet. A new study published by Peters et al in Obesity in June contributes to the existing evidence that low-calorie sweeteners, like those used in many diet sodas, can aid in weight loss. In fact, the study found that compared with those who drank water, people who drank beverages sweetened with low-calorie sweeteners lost more weight, felt less hungry, and benefitted from reductions in total and LDL cholesterol levels.
Conducted by researchers at Temple University and University of Colorado, Denver, the 12-week study was a randomized-controlled trial (RCT), which is the most respected and robust study design in research. The study compared one group of people who drank at least 24 ounces of low-calorie sweetened beverages each day and another group who drank at least 24 ounces of water, and no beverages with low-calorie sweeteners. Both groups participated in the same weight loss intervention program, and both had similar physical activity levels.
The results of the study revealed that on average, participants drinking the diet beverages lost 13 pounds over the 12-week period, compared to only nine pounds by those in the water group. Additionally, participants drinking diet beverages reported being less hungry and even reduced their total and LDL cholesterol more than the participants who did not consume the diet drinks.
This is just the latest in the growing body of research showing that beverages with low-calorie sweeteners can support weight management goals. In addition, Miller and Perez conducted a recent meta-analysis of 15 RCTs and nine prospective cohort studies on low-calorie sweeteners and weight management, spanning 35 years – the most comprehensive scientific evaluation of low-calorie sweeteners and body weight and composition studies to date – and found that substituting low-calorie sweetened beverages for their regular-calorie counterparts contributes to weight loss (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2014). The new research by Peters et al, further indicates these beverages may contribute to weight loss even more than water alone.
Consumers should still be mindful that low-calorie sweeteners are not a magic bullet for weight loss, and that a balanced diet and physical activity are key components of healthy weight loss plans. Still, we know that in order to maintain weight loss, people need to be able to enjoy their favorite foods and beverages. Fortunately for diet beverage lovers, this study shows that they can enjoy beverages with low-calorie sweeteners, like diet sodas, teas, and flavored waters, without compromising the success of their diets.
For more information about low-calorie sweeteners, view these IFIC Foundation resources:
Did you know that in addition to helping with weight management, low- and no-calorie beverages other than water such as diet soda, teas, coffee, and juices also contribute to hydration? Read more in the IFIC Foundation resource, “Hydration: Does it Always Have to be Water?