Beverages made with low-calorie sweeteners, including aspartame and sucralose, may be beneficial tools to support weight loss and maintenance among overweight and obese adults, according to a new study published in Obesity.
In the study, more than 220 overweight and obese adults were randomized into one of two groups and participated in the same 12-week weight loss program. The only difference between the two groups was the type of beverage instructed for consumption: one group was told to consume beverages made with low-calorie sweeteners and the other was told to consume water. Participants were followed for another 40-week weight maintenance phase in which they participated in the same monthly meetings with dietitians and clinical psychologists.
Factors such as weight, waist circumference and perceived hunger were measured among all participants before the weight loss phase and following the weight maintenance phase.
Researchers found that:
The researchers of this study concluded, “This 1-year randomized clinical trial provides evidence that NNS [non-nutritive sweetened] beverages may be an effective tool to aid in weight loss and maintenance, among regular users of NNS beverages, when used as part of a behavioral weight loss treatment program. In this equivalence trial design, when compared to the most commonly recommended beverage for good health, water, NNS beverages were shown to be non-equivalent and were superior for both weight loss and weight maintenance.”
“This study highlights the potential use of beverages sweetened with low- and no-calorie sweeteners as tools to support weight loss,” said Robert Rankin, President of the Calorie Control Council. “Low-calorie sweeteners allow for people to enjoy a variety of foods and beverages without worrying about excess calories.” Health organizations, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Heart Association (AHA) support the use of low-calorie sweeteners to assist with calorie and weight management.
Peters JC, Beck J, Cardel M, Wyatt HR, Foster GD, Pan Z, et al. The effects of water and non-nutritive sweetened beverages on weight loss and weight maintenance: a randomized clinical trial. Obesity, 2015; doi: 10.1002/oby.21327.