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Watching your weight? It's smart to pay attention to what you choose to drink. New research finds that those who chose water or diet drinks to lose weight instead of drinking more calorie laden beverages (sports drinks, coffee drinks, regular sodas) lost 4-5 pounds over a six-month period. The research is the first controlled trial to employ no calorie drink substitution as a weight loss strategy for overweight or obese adults. Figures from the beverage industry suggest that 10.4 billion gallons of sugar-laden drinks are produced per year - enough to give every single American a 12 ounce can of soda every day of the year. And while nutritionists agree that a sugared beverage is fine as a treat once in a while, they point out that most of us drink far more than is good for us. The average can of soda or fruit drink has 150 calories, most coming from high fructose corn syrup - the equal of about ten teaspoons of regular table sugar. If you drank just one can of these drinks a day, and didn't cut back on calories in other areas of your diet, you'd gain up to 15 pounds in a year. The research on switching from sugar laden drinks involved 318 overweight and/or obese subjects that were broken into 3 groups - participants who switched from high calorie drinks to water, those who swapped to diet soda and those who made no changes in what they drank but were given information. All subjects went to monthly group meetings and had access to a website specifically dedicated to the group during the entire study period. During the six months of the study, all three of the groups had a small drop in body weight and waist measurements, but those who were drinking the calorie free drinks were two times more likely to lose an additional 5% of of body weight. What's more, the researchers found that those who had mostly water showed lower fasting blood sugar levels and improved hydration. This is important because weight loss percentage and a reduced blood sugar level are linked to improvements in obesity risk factors as well as other chronic diseases. Done on a larger scale, this might impact the growing epidemic of obesity. The study authors say that people who like the sweet taste, carbonation or caffeine in regular soda or other drinks will likely do best with a change to diet varieties over changing to water. Water however does bring some important health benefits - besides hydration it may also help improve blood sugar levels. And while the weight lost using diet drinks to lose weight was less than more intensive lifestyle changes, making this single change is easy to stick with, and brings results to boot. Changing

what you drink on a regular basis is a small, do-able change that's easier to maintain over the long haul. Tale points out that this approach only works if you don't make up the lost calories in some other way i.e. eating more calorie dense foods.

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During the six months of the study, all three of the groups had a small drop in body weight and waist measurements, but those who were drink...

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