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You Are What You…Drink?

Study:  What You Drink Has More Impact on Weight than What You Eat

Consuming sugar-laden beverages contributes to weight gain.

Consuming sugar-laden beverages contributes to weight gain.

A younger friend of mine said to me the other day, “If I have to consume calories, I’d much rather get them by eating them than by drinking them.”

This was my friend’s own way of saying that if he has to put on weight, he’d rather do it chomping than sipping. 

While the instance in which my friend said this was one of mindless small talk, his seemingly innocuous statement revealed wisdom beyond his years.  Because new research suggests that people are much more likely to put on weight when guzzling calories than when devouring them.

Researchers discovered this after performing a series of tests and follow-ups on a group of randomly selected participants – 810 in all – that took part in another randomized study called the PREMIER trial. 

The participants ranged in age from 25 to 79 and involved lots of follow-ups to see where the participants’ weights were at over an 18 month period.  To gauge what they were eating and drinking, researchers would call the participants at random times and on random days to ask what and how much they’d eaten and drank over the past 24 hours.

In the instances where the participants put on or lost weight, both food and drink factored into their overall weight gain.  But with regards to which contributed more, researchers say drinks had the most impact, as the fewer sugar-sweetened drinks they consumed, the more precipitous their weight loss (or weight gain) was.

For instance, when participants reduced their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by one serving per day (one serving usually amounts to 8 fluid ounces), it resulted in about a pound of decreased weight loss in the shorter follow-up periods (six months) and about a pound a half of weight loss in the longer follow-ups (18 months).

Now, again, the researchers note that both food and beverage consumption factored into weight change, but when they broke down the numbers piecemeal, sugar-sweetened drinks was the only variable that had a “significant” impact one way or the other.

And this wasn’t hard to determine, for sugar-sweetened drinks were the leading variety of beverage consumed by the participants (37 percent).  Sugar-sweetened drinks were defined as non-diet sodas, fruit punch, fruit drinks and high calorie, sugar-sweetened drinks like Kool-Aid).

The researchers involved in the 18-month study came from a mélange of prestigious institutions, such as Duke University, the University of Alabama, Pennsylvania State University, and was financially supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institutes of Health and a several other fine institutions. 

The full findings are published in this month’s issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Granted, this finding won’t register high on the “Wow!” factor, but it bespeaks of the terrible toll sugar-saturated drinks have on the body.  And it’s an important find, because while we always hear about “mindless eating” I find drinking to be far more mindless.  In other words, because of the quickness with which someone can drink as opposed to chew to gain sustenance, it’s easier to fluff off liquid calories than solid calories.  This study confirms the fact that fluffing off liquid calories is a great way to gain weight.

Avoid mindlessness and embrace mindfulness; avoid calorie-laden soda and embrace nutrient-laden agua.


Related Posts

  1. Researchers Say Artificial Sweetener Saccharin Contributes to Weight Gain
  2. Sugary Drinks Increase Diabetes Risk in African-American Women
  3. Study: Breast Cancer Risk Increases with Each Drink among Women
  4. Sports Drinks like Gatorade Harsh on Teeth, Study Finds
  5. Attention Coffee Drinkers

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Comment from kenneth
Time April 6, 2009 at 9:25 am

I found out sometime back that this is true, therefor I drink sugarless pop, and by the way skim milk,,,it works.

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