Study: Beverages More Vital to Weight Gain or Loss Than Food

Posted Apr 5, 2009 by Michael Krebs
A study from John Hopkins finds that beverage consumption has a greater impact on weight than food consumption. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the source.
Keeping our kids healthy
There are 39 grams of sugar in a 12 oz Coca-Cola can.
Digital Journal
You are what you drink - this is the core finding of a study from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Researchers studied the relationship between calories from liquid sources and calories from solids and found a culprit in sugar-sweetened beverages.
“Both liquid and solid calories were associated with weight change, however, only a reduction in liquid calorie intake was shown to significantly affect weight loss during the 6-month follow up,” said Benjamin Caballero MD, PhD, senior author of the study and a professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health, in a press release. “A reduction in liquid calorie intake was associated with a weight loss of 0.25 kg at 6 months and 0.24 kg at 18 months. Among sugar-sweetened beverages, a reduction of 1 serving was associated with a weight loss of 0.5 kg at 6 months and 0.7 kg at 18 months. Of the seven types of beverages examined, sugar-sweetened beverages were the only beverages significantly associated with weight change.”
The study, published in the April 1, 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examined the consumption of milk, teas and coffees, alcoholic beverages, sugar-sweetened drinks, and diet drinks among 810 adults 25-79 years old.
The issue of sugary liquid consumption is correlated with obesity, and the prevalence of sugar in what is otherwise billed by manufacturers as healthy beverages led to a recent lawsuit on consumer promotional deception. Sugary drinks are pervasive and are often cloaked as fruit drinks. Researchers at Bloomberg School are recommending that sugar-sweetened beverages be removed from the diet.
“Among beverages, sugar-sweetened beverages was the only beverage type significantly associated with weight change at both the 6- and 18-month follow up periods,” said Liwei Chen, MD, PhD, MHS, lead author of the study and a Bloomberg School graduate, in the press release. “Changes in the consumption of diet drinks and alcoholic beverages were inversely associated with weight loss, but were not statistically significant. Our study supports policy recommendations and public health efforts to reduce intakes of liquid calories, particularly from sugar-sweetened beverages, in the general population.”