Drinking Low-Calorie Sweetened Beverages Common Among Weight Loss Maintainers

ATLANTA (August 25, 2014) — Drinking low- and no-calorie sweetened beverages, including diet sodas, are common among people who have maintained significant weight loss, according to a new study published in Obesity.

In the study, researchers surveyed individuals in the National Weight Control Registry in which participants have maintained a weight loss of at least 30 pounds for at least one year. A total of 434 people completed the survey, answering questions related to their average consumption of low-calorie sweetened beverages and reasons for consuming these beverages. More than half of all participants reported daily consumption of low-calorie sweetened beverages, including diet sodas and coffee and tea sweetened with low-calorie sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin and sucralose. Additionally, over 78% of participants who reported weekly consumption of low-calorie sweetened beverages believed that consumption was partially responsible for controlling their calorie intake. Participants were also asked about whether or not they believed that changing their beverage consumption habits was important in their weight loss efforts. A majority of participants noted that such changes were important, reporting increased consumption of water and low-calorie sweetened beverages in their weight loss efforts.

The researchers concluded, “In addition to water, successful weight loss maintainers consume a wide variety of non-caloric beverages on a regular basis. In particular, consumption of LNCSB [low- and no-calorie sweetened beverages] is common with ~53% of participants consuming LNCSB once a day or more.” Further, they concluded, “The data on consumption patterns of LNCSB in successful weight loss maintainers, combined with other research showing no negative impact of these beverages on weight, might provide some reassurance to those deciding whether to consume these beverages during weight loss and weight loss maintenance.”

“This study highlights the potential use of beverages sweetened with low- and no-calorie sweeteners as tools for weight loss,” said Haley Curtis Stevens, Ph.D., President of the Calorie Control Council. “Low-calorie sweeteners allow for people to enjoy a variety of foods and beverages without worrying about excess calories. As this study shows, along with proper diet and exercise, low-calorie sweeteners can assist in weight loss and maintenance.”

Catenacci VA, Pan Z, Thomas JG, Ogden LG, Roberts SA, Wyatt HR, et al. Low/no calorie sweetened beverage consumption in the National Weight Control Registry. Obesity, 2014; doi: 10.1002/oby.20834.