Thursday, May 29, 2014

Water or Diet Soda - What's the Better Diet Beverage? Study Confirms Fake Sweetness Promotes Weight & Waist Loss, Decreases Hunger, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol & Trigs

There is one thing that's not debatable, compared to regular coke, diet coke is a diet beverage.
I am probably repeating myself, when I tell you that there are still many people out there who don't understand that it makes a fundamental difference if you are looking at potential pro-obesogenic effect of non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) in an energy restricted vs. ad-libitum diet scenario. In view of the discussions revolving around the last article on a similar matter, I still thought it was prudent to mention that something that could potentially increase the cravings for sweets is not going to make you fat, if you don't give in to the urges.

Apropos urges, if you look at the abstract of the study I am about to discuss in today's SuppVersity article, you will realize that this effect does not existent.
You can learn more about sweeteners at the SuppVersity

Unsatiating Truth About Sweeteners?

Will Artificial Sweeteners Spike Insulin?

Sweeteners & the Gut Microbiome Each is Diff.

Sweeter Than Your Tongue Allows!

Stevia, Much More Than Sweet?

Artif. Sweetened Foods Help Weight Loss!
In fact, a brief glimpse at the data scientists from the University of Colorado it's obvious that the exact opposite happens. After 12 weeks on  those of the 158 subjects who had been randomized to consume at least 24 fluid ounces of a non-nutritive sweetened beverage of their choice per day had not jus lost 46% more body weight than their peers who had been confined to water for 12 weeks, they also experienced a slight decline in hunger.
Figure 1: Changes in body weight, waist circumference & hunger in the course of the 12-week study (Peters. 2014)
In the water only group, on the other hand, the perceived desire to eat e the water drinkers increased in the course of the study period - certainly a potential reason they lost ~2kg less body weight than their peers did over the course of the 12-week study.
There are a few drawbacks to the study you should know of: Firstly, 12 weeks is not a very long study period and someone who is obese would have to benefit for at least 50 weeks to lose more than the pathetic 6kg of weight the subjects in the study and hand lost. Secondly, the results cannot be used in non-diet contexts - if there is no calorie restriction, the effects may be very different. Thirdly, the subjects were all already non-nutritive sweetener consumers. For someone who is used to regular coke the effects may thus not be as pronounced. And fourth- and lastly, the authors are stuck for an answer to the most important question: Why does it work? In know this is a typical physicist thing, but as long as we can't explain it, it does not really exist for us ;-)
As the data in Figure 2 goes to show you, this weight loss benefit was not bought dearly! On the contrary, the non-nutritive sweetener group who had received gift coupons from the Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple Group that were redeemable for bottled water or NNS beverages at retail stores, didn't just record greater weight loss and less hunger, they had also higher reductions in blood pressure, waist circumference, total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Figure 2: Changes in systolic BP, total, LDL and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides (Peters. 2014)
Personally I would exclude that this is in any way directly related to the use of dietary sweeteners. reducing effects of the non-nutritive sweeteners may thus eventually tipped the balance in favor of the aspartame, acesulfam-k and stevia group.

What's much more likely is that these additional benefits are - just like the increased weight loss - attributable to an increased adherence to the energy deficient diet and a lower number of (sweet) cheat meals. In combination with the ~30min of extra physical activity the "diet coke junkies" performed, the appetite suppressive effects may thus well explain the statistically significant advantage the scientists from the University of Colorado and the Temple University recorded in their latest study.
Yes, some sweeteners can increase the amount of insulin your pancreas produces, but there are only few scenarios in which these effects could make you fat - and dieting is not one of them | learn more
Bottom line: If we assume that none of the sponsors American Beverage Association messed with the objectively measured results of the study at hand, we are dealing with another experimental confirmation of what the majority of fitness, bodybuilding and fitness competitors have been saying for years: "Diet coke & co help me stick to my diet and everything that helps me stick to my diet will help me to step on stage in picture perfect form." I am not sure why this sounds incredible do some people, but the way you see fitness forum visitors keep accusing artificially sweetened beverages for their own failure is another hilarious instance of the scapegoatism millions of failed dieters use to find ever-new excuses for their own mistakes and shortcomings.
  • Peters, John C., et al. "The effects of water and non‐nutritive sweetened beverages on weight loss during a 12‐week weight loss treatment program." Obesity 22.6 (2014): 1415-1421.