Coca-Cola will HATE this new study. And it may help a lot of people who struggle with their weight.
It’s been debated for a long time: Do diet beverages, with artificial sweeteners, help or brake weight loss? They are certainly less bad than sugar-sweetened beverages, the worst thing ever. But can diet drinks still be a problem?
The jury has been out, but a just-published study clears up the confusion. It followed 62 overweight women who were trying to lose weight and who regularly drank diet beverages. Half the women were randomized to start drinking water instead, the other half continued drinking diet beverages (one small drink five days a week) for 24 weeks.
The women who switched to water lost 19.4 pounds (8.8 kilos) on average, which was 2.6 pounds more (1.2 kilos) than the diet beverage group. The extra weight loss was statistically significant.
The water group also improved their fasting insulin, signs of insulin resistance and their glucose tolerance, compared to the diet drinks group. Those are all good things for losing weight and improving health.
- AJCN: Effects on weight loss in adults of replacing diet beverages with water during a hypoenergetic diet: a randomized, 24-wk clinical trial
Who to trust?
Importantly this is the only similar study – as far as I know – that has been done with no financial ties to the beverage industry. None of the authors reported any conflict of interest whatsoever.
In contrast, studies showing that diet drinks are neutral for weight control are usually blatantly funded by Coca-Cola, PepsiCo etc. I leave it to you whether to trust your health and weight to Big Soda’s pet scientists.
Personally I’ll keep recommending people to avoid artificial sweeteners in order to lose weight effortlessly. I’ve updated the page How to Lose Weight with details of this new study.