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New Study Finds That Drinking Diet Soda May Be Good For Weight Loss

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In previous years there’s been a constant buzz around whether or not drinking diet soda is good for losing those extra pounds. While one camp of dieters often claims that the low calorie beverages can’t possibly hinder their loss, those who drink water over soda have stated that any soda, diet or otherwise will impede getting fit. Now, this argument can be put to rest as James O. Hill from the University of Colorado and his team of researchers has solved the mystery through a study that examined 303 participants.

The Study

The 12 week study was performed as a randomized clinical trial at the Anschutz Center for Health and Wellness in Aurora, as well as through the Center for Obesity Research and Education in Philadelphia. It was encouraged by the American Beverage Association, who supported the trials through an unrestricted educational grant. The group was split into two sections, one which was prohibited from consuming diet soda during their weight loss period, while the other group was encouraged to do so. The findings were extremely interesting; William Hudson of CNN states: “While the typical participant banned from drinking diet sodas lost 9 pounds over 12 weeks, those allowed to continue drinking diet soda lost, on average, 13 pounds in the same time period. That’s a 4-pound difference.”

64% of the group that was consuming diet soda regularly throughout the 12 weeks lost on average, 5% of their body weight, while the non-drinkers who lost about this much came to only roughly 43% of the group. This 21% difference between the groups was enough to prove without a doubt that diet soda during dieting can actually help people lose better than water does. The study has been published in the Obesity Society journal, which is called, Obesity.

How It Works

Although there are different perspectives on why exactly this diet soda trick is making such a difference in weight loss, many assume it has to do with the sweetness of the drink. Cutting yourself off from all sugary, dessert-like substances while you’re trying to diet only makes people want them more, while those who are able to partake in a sweet beverage after dinner crave less carbs and sugary foods, and feel satisfied with what they’ve already had. In fact, these statistical findings aren’t as new as scientists are claiming; Sciencedaily.com writes: “Additional research published in 2009 on weight loss maintenance, drawn from the National Weight Control Registry, found that successful weight loss maintainers drank three times more diet beverages than those who had never lost weight.”

Previously studies have found similar information, but the findings haven’t made it quite as conclusive that diet beverages assist dieters as they have now. This means that all of those men and women who enjoy a diet-cola after work can do so guilt free and not worry so much about the prospects of it stalling their weight gain.

Busting The Myths

One of the reasons that so many dieters have chosen not to consume diet-beverages while trying to lose weight is that in the past it was assumed that these sugar-free drinks might actually make you hungrier, or cause cravings for additional sweets. CBSlocal.com reports: “This study counters the idea that diet drinks stimulate hunger. In fact, it suggests they can play an important role in weight loss as CU researchers concluded drinking diet beverages helps people lose weight.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean that sneaking in other sweet items will have the same effect, as one of the reasons this works so well for weight loss has to do with the low calorie content, and liquidity of the substance. Some dieters prefer to turn to protein shakes for their sweet flavors, as this can pose as a meal replacement and allow such flavoring as orange, chocolate, peanut butter, strawberry, vanilla, and many others. Unlike diet soda, however, these shakes are usually taken as a post-workout supplement or as a way to remove a meal from the day without losing calories or nutrients. Low calorie soda beverages aren’t used in place of a meal, simple as an addition to your daily eating and drinking, but it may curb your hunger in place of another sugary snack that would add pounds to the waistline.

Alternative Health Benefits

The co-author of the 2014 Colorado University Anschutz study and chief strategy officer at the Health and Wellness Center there has said that there are other benefits to adding these kinds of beverages to your fitness regimen aside from simple weight loss evidence. With so many misconceptions flooding this market, and soda getting a bad rap in general, and for good reason in many cases, it may come as a shock to Americans to learn that there have also been results from trial members showing significantly lower risk of heart disease. This accompanies a low chance of developing type 2 diabetes, and a decreased risk of high blood pressure as well, which are side effects of curbing the bad fats, and losing weight.

While this study and previous ones have concluded that diet soda is not a hindrance during weight loss, but a helpful tool, it’s also worth noting that you should only consume these beverages in moderation. Like all other things, too much of a good thing is a bad thing, and there are other health concerns linked with high consumption rates of any food or beverage.