RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—It’s easier for people to lose weight when they cut calories from beverages rather than food, new research shows. In a study published in the April edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, cutting down on liquid calories had a stronger effect on weight loss than cutting down on calories from solid foods. Which makes sense, considering how many calories most of us drink in a day. “Over the past 20 years, Americans have increased their average daily caloric intake by around 200 calories a day,” explains study coauthor Benjamin Caballero, MD, PhD, professor of nutrition at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Almost half that increase is explained by an increase in consumption of caloric beverages.”
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THE DETAILS: Researchers at Johns Hopkins University studied 810 participants at the beginning of the study, and again 6 and 18 months later, looking at how drinking fewer sugar-sweetened drinks (regular soda, fruit drinks, fruit punch, or any other high-calorie beverage, diet drinks, milk, alcoholic beverages, 100-percent juice, tea, and coffee) affected weight loss. Cutting out one serving of sugar-sweetened drinks a day produced the only statistically significant greater weight loss, and was associated with about a 1-pound loss at 6 months, and 1½-pound drop at 18 months.
WHAT IT MEANS: Drinking too many sugar-sweetened drinks has been linked not only to an increase in blubbery bellies and stubborn pounds, but also to a greater risk of developing diabetes. Plus, beverages don’t do a good job at satisfying our appetites, so they don’t take the place of calories that we eat.
Here’s how to drop a few pounds, and keep them off, by watching your liquids:
Published on: April 6, 2009
Updated on: January 23, 2012