Want to shed those extra pounds? Well, then focus more on what you drink than what you eat, suggest Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers.
The researchers studied the relationship between beverage consumption among adults and weight change and found that weight loss was positively linked to a reduction in liquid calorie consumption and liquid calorie intake had a stronger impact on weight than solid calorie intake.
"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.
"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," Caballero added.
The researchers carried out a prospective study of 810 adults aged 25-79 years old participating in the PREMIER trial, an 18-month randomized, controlled, behavioral intervention. Caballero along with colleagues from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood institute; Duke University; the Pennington Biomedical Research Center; the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research; the University of Alabama; and Pennsylvania State University measured participant's weight and height using a calibrated scale and a wall-mounted stadiometer at both 6 and 18 months.
Dietary intake was measured by conducting unannounced 24-hour dietary recall interviews by telephone.
Researchers divided beverages into several categories based on calorie content and nutritional composition. They found that at 37 percent sugar-sweetened beverages were the leading source of liquid calories.
The results are published in the April 1, 2009, issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.