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Study Finds that Diet Soda Can Help People Shed Weight

Update Date: May 27, 2014 09:36 AM EDT

In recent years, many researchers have investigated the health benefits of drinking diet soda. These studies have reported that drinking diet soda excessively can lead to negative health effects. In a new study, which was funded in part by the American Beverage Association, researchers found that diet soda can help people lose weight.

In this study headed by Dr. Jim Hill from the University of Colorado's Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, the researchers recruited 302 participants. The participants were divided into two groups. In the first group, the participants were instructed to continue drinking diet soda and the other group, named the water group, was no longer allowed to drink soda. Both groups received coaching to help with weight loss.

Over the span of 12 weeks, the people from the water group lost nine pounds whereas the people from the diet soda group lost 13 pounds. Hill, who runs a weight loss program at the university, theorized that the diet soda group lost more weight because they had an easier time than the other group who had to cut cold turkey. The team concluded that diet soda is only healthier if people cannot control their cravings for other sweets and sweetened beverages.

"It makes sense that it would have been harder for the water group to adhere to the overall diet than the [artificially-sweetened beverage] group," explained Hill reported by CNN. "The most likely explanation was that having access to drinks with sweet taste helps the [artificially-sweetened beverage] group to adhere better to the behavioral change program."

"There's so much misinformation about diet beverages that isn't based on studies designed to test cause and effect, especially on the internet," said John C. Peters, co-author of the study and the chief strategy officer of the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center added according to the press release. "This research allows dieters to feel confident that low- and no-calorie sweetened beverages can play an important and helpful role as part of an effective and comprehensive weight loss strategy."

The study was published in Obesity.

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