Switching from drinks with calories to water or diet drinks helps people lose 4 to 5 pounds, research finds.
The switch to drinks with no calories can double the chance that someone will lose 5 percent of their body weight.
A previous study found that drinking two glasses of water before each meal helps to boost weight loss significantly.
Switching to water also led to better hydration levels and lower fasting glucose levels.
Dr Deborah Tate, the study’s first author, said:
“Substituting non-caloric beverages – whether it’s water, diet soft drinks or something else – can be a clear and simple change for people who want to lose or maintain weight.
If this were done on a large scale, it could significantly reduce the increasing public health problem of obesity.”
Included in the study were 318 overweight or obese women.
Some were assigned to a group that switched to water or diet drinks from caloric drinks.
They were compared to a group that made a dietary change of their own choosing.
The results showed that after six months those consuming calorie-free drinks were twice as likely to have lost 5 percent of their body weight.
Dr Tate said:
“We learned that both water and diet sodas have some benefits, but they may be different.
People who really like the sweet flavor or carbonation or caffeine of sodas may be more likely to stick with the change if they are drinking diet sodas as opposed to water only, but drinking water was associated with some other important health improvements like reduced blood sugar.”
Switching to a drink with zero calories is an easy change to make, said Dr Tate:
“Substituting specific foods or beverages that provide a substantial portion of daily calories may be a useful strategy for modest weight loss or weight gain prevention.
Beverages may be ideal targets, but keep in mind, the strategy will only work if the person doesn’t make up for the lost calories some other way.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Tate et al., 2012).