-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- People who drank water or
diet beverages instead of calorie-laden drinks lost 4 to 5 pounds
over half a year, according to new research.
The study included 318 overweight or obese people divided into
three groups: those who switched to water from high-calorie
beverages; those who switched to diet soft drinks; and those who
weren't advised to change beverages but were given general
information about healthy choices that could help them lose weight
(the control group).
Over the six-month study, all three groups had small reductions
in weight and waist circumference. But those who switched to
calorie-free beverages were twice as likely to lose 5 percent or
more of their body weight than those in the control group.
In addition, the investigators found that people who drank
mostly water had lower fasting glucose levels and better hydration
levels than those in the control group.
Percentage of weight loss and lower blood-sugar levels are
important because they're associated with improvements in risk
factors for obesity-related chronic diseases, according to study
author Deborah Tate, an associate professor of nutrition and of
health behavior at the University of North Carolina Gillings School
of Global Public Health and member of the Lineberger Comprehensive
"Substituting noncaloric 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," she said in a university news release. "If this were done on a large scale, it could significantly reduce the increasing public health problem of obesity."
The study appears online and in the March print issue of the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Weight loss among the participants in this study was less than
that seen in more intensive, clinic-based behavioral lifestyle
modification programs, the researchers said. However, they noted
that asking people to change just one part of their diet (in this
case, beverages) is consistent with previous findings recommending
small but potentially more sustainable lifestyle changes to improve
"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," Tate said. "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."
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
Diseases explains how to
choose a safe and successful weight-loss
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