Weight Loss: Diet Drinks Better Than Water?

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This study is sure to spark debate among weight loss experts. After years of doctors and nutritionists warning consumers that drinking diet beverages may actually cause a person to gain weight, a new study that will be published in June's journal of Obesity is now claiming otherwise.

Before going onto the research findings, it's probably important to note that the study was funded by the American Beverage Association, in turn popular calorie-free drinks like Diet Coke and Diet Snapple backed the study.

James O. Hill, Ph.D., who is executive director of the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, co-authored the study. He concluded that drinking diet beverages helps a person to lose weight. “This study clearly demonstrates diet beverages can in fact help people lose weight, directly countering myths in recent years that suggest the opposite effect – weight gain." He added, "In fact, those who drank diet beverages lost more weight and reported feeling significantly less hungry than those who drank water alone. This reinforces if you’re trying to shed pounds, you can enjoy diet beverages.”

The study was performed with a relatively small sample size of 303 people during a 12-week clinical trial. Half of the group was instructed to drink at least 24 ounces of a diet beverage every day. They could consume as much water as they wanted. The other half of the study participants were told to drink at least 24 ounces of water a day, however, no diet beverages were allowed. The second study group could eat food containing sugar substitutes like Equal and Sweet'N Low, but they could not add them to anything they drank.

The study concluded that the diet beverage group lost an average of 13 pounds over the trial period of 12-weeks. The water group lost an average of 9 pounds over that same period. Researchers also noted that the diet beverage group claimed to feel less hungry. Additionally, the group showed improvements in serum levels of total cholesterol and LDL, known as "bad" cholesterol.

Of course, this is just one study. A 2012 research study published in American Journal of Public Health claimed that people who drank two or more diet drinks a day ended up gaining weight, and the drinks actually made people feel hungrier. Additionally, studies have determined that artificial sweeteners found in products like Equal contain aspartame, which has previously been linked to a higher risk of stroke and heart attack in females.

What has been your personal experience with diet drinks? Do they seem to help or hinder your weight loss goals?

Image via Diet Coke, Twitter

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