Is Diet Soda Really Better than Water for Weight Loss or is This a Cruel Prank?
Could a new study be the answer to our -- and the cola companies' -- dreams?
Conducted by (here's where it gets dicey) The American Beverage Association, the report analyzed the behaviors of 300 men and women who were enrolled in a program involving weight loss tactics and exercise regimens.
Divvied in half, participants of, let's call them Group A, were instructed to avoid all diet beverages and consume mostly water while, the 150 "members" of Group B, as NPR reports, "Was told to consume a combination of zero-calorie drinks (for example, diet soda or artificially sweetened teas) and water."
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90 days later, at the conclusion of the controlled study, members of Group B had lost an average of nearly 13 lbs. while those in "Water Only" Group A had shed 9. (!)
Surprised? You're not alone, John Peters, one of the study's authors, was too. "We can't determine mechanism from this trial," Peters cautions those who might read "Yay, I get to drink all the soda I want, because it's good for me" into the findings, abut concedes that, "We did see that people in the diet-soda wing of the study reported less hunger during the trial than those in the water group."
Naturally, findings like these are like hitting the jackpot to skeptics like Laura Schmidt, a professor of health policy at the University of California, San Francisco, who was one of the first to jump in and shoot them down. "Studies suggest that consumption of diet soda makes people continue to crave sugar, thereby making it harder to quit," she points out.
For his part, Peters, while surprised by the visceral reaction some in the medical community have (I'm kind of amazed how much people are trying to find a reason not to believe these findings."), is determined to let the science and the facts lead the way. And, for the record, he and his team made it clear to the Beverage Association at the outset that they'd publish their findings whether or not they supported the diet drink industry.
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