From Ergo Log
If you put yourself on a low-calorie diet for a few months, you’ll lose a couple more kilograms by treating yourself to sugar-free light sodas. Researchers at the University of Colorado wrote an article about this in Obesity, based on a 12-week study they did with 279 subjects.
While sweeteners are regarded as controversial outside scientific circles, toxicologists have no problem with them. What’s more: some toxicologists and nutritionists despair at the continuing debate on the risks of sweeteners that flares up every time journalists or bloggers find an obscure study in which mice have been given the dreaded aspartame.
The study we report on here will not change the opinion of those opposed to sweeteners. It was sponsored by the American Beverage Association, and both the first author and the project leader have worked for the Coca Cola Company in the past.
The researchers got 279 obese adults – average BMI 33 – to lose weight without any supervision from dieticians or psychologists. They were put on a diet that covered their basic metabolic rate, and given instructions to do one hour of exercise 6 days a week. Half of the subjects drank water to quench their thirst and the other half were told to drink 3 glasses of a light soft drink daily.
At the end of the 12 weeks the subjects that had drunk the soft drink [NNS] had lost 6 kg bodyweight. The other subjects [Water] had only lost 4 kg.
When the researchers looked at the subjects who had lost at least 5 percent of their bodyweight, they noticed that about two-thirds of the light-drinkers had managed this. Among the water drinkers the figure was only 43 percent.
“Based on the design of this study we are unable to say, what is the mechanism for the greater weight loss in the NNS group compared to the water group”, the researchers write. “Weekly hunger scores were significantly lower among the NNS group than the water group although the absolute changes were small. While it is plausible that the NNS participants were more likely to adhere to the dietary recommendations due to less hunger than the Water group we cannot conclude this based on this study.”
“These results strongly suggest that NNS beverages can be part of an effective weight loss strategy and individuals who desire to consume them should not be discouraged from doing so”, the researchers concluded. “A longer term follow-up of this randomized cohort, now underway, will clarify the utility of NNS beverages in weight loss maintenance.”
Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Jun;22(6):1415-21.