Sunday, March 13, 2016

Diet Soda Vs. Water For Weight Loss

The Study
Sixty-two obese and overweight women initiated the same weight loss plan, which included a low calorie diet and 300 minutes of moderate exercise per week.  Half of the women were told to drink at least one diet beverage after lunch and the other half were told to eliminate diet beverages and drink only water. Body weight and several metabolic indicators were measured both before and after the 24 week intervention. Both groups lost a significant amount of weight. The diet soda drinkers lost an average of 16.7 lbs., while the water drinkers lost 19.4 lbs. Furthermore, the women drinking the water had a statistically significant improvement in insulin sensitivity when compared to the diet soda drinkers. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2015; 102:1305-12.

Take Home Message
This was a very well designed trial that taught us a few things: 1) Water is, far and away, the beverage of choice for weight loss. 2) Drinking diet soda regularly does not prevent weight loss, if the diet and exercise program is strong. A couple of studies I have read in the past few years hypothesized that consistent diet soda consumption interfered with the ability to lose weight. This study shows evidence that this is not true. However, the water drinkers lost more weight over the 24 weeks and had an improvement in insulin sensitivity, which translates to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

If weight loss is your goal, make water your primary beverage. If you love diet soda, have a couple a week as a treat.  If you are drinking a lot of regular soda now, switching to diet can be a nice and easy option to start the scale moving in the right direction as you transition yourself to water as your go to beverage.


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