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Research suggests sweeteners help reduce weight

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By Nicholas Robinson+

Last updated on 28-May-2014 at 17:50 GMT

New research suggests sweeteners can help increase weight loss
New research suggests sweeteners can help increase weight loss

People consuming low- and no-calorie sweetened (LCNS) beverages on average lose nearly 50% more weight than those who just drink water, a new study has shown.

A 12-week clinical study of 303 participants on a behavioural diet programme found that people who drank LCNS beverages lost 45% more weight (5.95kg) than those drinking water (4.09kg).

Led by researcher Professor James Hill and published in the journal Obesity yesterday (May 27), the research, sponsored by the American Beverage Association, also showed the group that drank LCNS beverages reported feeling less hungry than the water control group.

‘Weight loss or not’

“We tried to do a relatively definitive study to see if these products cause a problem in weight loss or not,” said Hill.

“We wanted to see if LCNS beverages were equivalent to water in weight loss, but we found they weren’t. In fact, there was greater weight loss on the group that had the LCNS than water.”

The study would continue for the rest of the year, said Hill, and would help break down a misconception that sweeteners contribute to weight gain.

Cholesterol was lower

Cholesterol was also lower in those consuming LCNS beverages, according to the research. People who drank LCNS beverages had a greater reduction in lipoprotein, which is linked to heart disease, than those who drank water.

Both groups in the trial followed the same diet and exercise regime. However, the control group agreed to drink at least 700ml of water each day. Those in the LCNS group agreed to drink the same amount of LCNS beverages.

The two groups could eat foods with LCNSs in them, but agreed not to drink diet beverages or put sugar substitutes in their drinks.

Hill’s study followed data presented by Professor Adam Drewnowski at an International Sweeteners Association (ISA) conference in April .

Healthier, balanced diet

Drewnowski’s research revealed that those who used LCNSs tended to eat a healthier, balanced diet and were more physically active.

His evidence was used by ISA chair Professor Colette Shortt to call on the food industry to help stamp out LCNS stigma in order to reduce the obesity and diabetes epidemic in Europe.

“The statistics for obesity and diabetes in Europe are shocking,” Shortt told in April. “We’re talking about obesity doubling since 2008, and by 2030 8% of adults in Europe will have diabetes.”

Meanwhile, the Food Manufacture Group has teamed up with the Institute of Food Science & Technology to assemble an expert line-up of speakers in a free one-hour webinar about the apparent half-truths, misrepresentations and falsehoods of fats, sugar and salt.

There will be a live question and answer session at the end of the debate. To register your question in advance, email .

Reserve your free place at the webinar here .

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