The soda and sugary drink ban that will be enforced in New York City now has new ammunition. Fresh of the presses come two new studies that seem to strongly correlate reduction of sugary beverage intake with limiting weight gain.
First let’s review some statistics. Two thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. One third of all American children are overweight or obese. If the trend continues, by 2030 about 60% of Americans will be overweight or obese. Experts cite numerous contributing factors that are fueling escalating rates of obesity among the population. Two new randomized clinical trials were released and published in The New England Journal of Medicine, that suggest a clear outcome from reducing sugary beverage intake.
In one trial, researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital set up home deliveries of bottled water and diet drinks to 224 overweight or obese teens for one year. The participants also received counseling to avoid sugary drinks outside the home. After a year the participants were compared to a group of teens (control group) who received no shipments and were not given extra dietary advice. The participating teens gained 3.5 pounds on average after the year, while the control group gained an average of 7.7 pounds. Once the teens completed the clinical trial, deliveries and support ended and the weight differences basically disappeared.
In the second trial researchers at an Amsterdam University, 641 students ages 4 – 11 were either given a daily sweet drink with 104 calories or a diet sweet drink with zero calories. The drinks were presented in similar cans and after 18 months all subjects were weighed. On average, the kids receiving the sugar-fee drink gained 13.9 pounds while the kids who received the sugary beverage gained 16.2 pounds. It should be noted that this study was performed as a double-blind study which means that the researchers and the students did not know who was getting the caloric drink. During this study about 25% of the participants dropped out before the trial was completed. Still, enough participants remained for the full duration, for the trial to be considered significant. Another observation was that the kids who gained less weight also had lower body fat measurements and thinner skin folds.
There’s been a lot of discussion already by experts as to how to apply these results to the population at large. One thing everyone seemed to agree on is the fact that the two studies showcase one habit change and the positive results on weight from this singular habit change. Is it worth a try for you or your family? Can you drop caloric beverages like soda and sweetened drinks and juices from your diet?
Published On: September 23, 2012