Effects on weight loss in adults of replacing diet beverages with water during a hypoenergetic diet: a randomized, 24-wk clinical trial1

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Obese people believe that drinking diet beverages (DBs) may be a simple strategy to achieve weight loss. However, nutritionists advise drinking water when attempting to lose weight. It is unclear how important drinking water instead of DBs is during a weight-loss program.


In this study, we compared the effect on weight loss of either replacing DBs with water or continuing to consume DBs in adults during a 24-wk weight-loss program.


Overweight and obese women [n = 89; body mass index (BMI; in kg/m2): 27–40; age: 18–50 y] who usually consumed DBs in their diet were asked to either substitute water for DBs (water group) or continue drinking DBs 5 times/wk after their lunch for 24 wk (DB group) while on a weight-loss program.


Sixty-two participants (71%) completed the trial (32 in the DB group, 30 in the water group). Baseline variables were not statistically significantly different between groups. A statistically significant reduction in anthropometric measurements and statistically significant improvements in cardiometabolic risk characteristics were observed over 24 wk in both groups. Compared with the DB group, the water group had a greater decrease in weight (mean ± SD: water: -8.8 ± 1.9 kg; DBs: -7.6 ± 2.1 kg; P = 0.015, time × group), fasting insulin (mean ± SD: water: -2.84 ± 0.77 mU/L; DBs: -1.78 ± 1.25 mU/L, P < 0.001), homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (mean ± SD: water: -0.097 ± 0.049; DBs: -0.057 ± 0.042, P < 0.001), and 2-h postprandial glucose (mean ± SD: water: -1.02 ± 0.25 mmol/L; DBs: -0.72 ± 0.27 mmol/L; P < 0.001) over the 24 wk. However, there was no significant time × group interaction for waist circumference, fasting plasma glucose, and lipid profiles within both groups over 24 wk.


Replacement of DBs with water after the main meal may lead to greater weight reduction during a weight-loss program. It may also offer clinical benefits to improve insulin resistance. This trial was registered at www.irct.ir/ as IRCT201402177754N5. Am J Clin Nutr 2015;102:1305–12.

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