Researcher finds reason for weight gain

Apr 22, 2009

Liwei Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Public Health, is the lead author of a research paper showing that weight gain and obesity are more linked to an increase in liquid calories, particularly sugar-sweetened beverages, than calories from solid food. To our knowledge, this is the first study to document the relative effects of calories from liquids compared with those of calories from solid food on weight loss in adults over an extended period. The study is published in the May 1, 2009 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study reports four principal findings: First, a reduction in liquid was significantly associated with at both 6 months and 18 months. Second, the weight-loss effect of a reduction in liquid calorie intake was stronger than that of a reduction in solid calorie intake. Third, a reduction in sugar-sweetened beverage intake was significantly associated with weight loss at both 6 and 18 months. Fourth, no other beverage type was associated with weight change.

It has been projected that 75% of US adults will be overweight or obese by 2015.

"Today, Americans consume 150-300 more calories a day than they did 30 years ago," notes Dr. Chen, "and caloric beverages account for approximately 50% of this increase."

The researchers followed 810 men and women, 25-79 years old, whose 24 hour dietary intake recall was measured by telephone interviews conducted when they entered the study and at 6 and 18 months. Beverages were divided into 7 categories based upon calorie content and nutritional composition.

  1. Sugar-sweetened beverages (regular , , fruit punch, or any other high-calorie beverage sweetened with sugar)
  2. diet drinks (diet soda and other diet drinks sweetened with artificial sweeteners)
  3. milk (whole milk, 2% reduced-fat milk, 1% low-fat milk, and skim milk)
  4. 100% juice (100% fruit and vegetable juice)
  5. coffee and tea with sugar (sweetened with sugar)
  6. coffee and tea without sugar (unsweetened or sweetened with artificial sweeteners)
  7. alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, spirits, and other alcoholic drinks).
Each participant's daily nutrient, energy, and beverage intakes were calculated by taking the average of 2 recalls per time point. Liquid calorie intake was calculated as the sum of
calories from the 7 beverage categories. Solid calorie intake was calculated by subtracting liquid calories from total calories.

The researchers offer a couple of possible explanations for their findings. The absence of chewing when consuming liquids may result in decreased pancreatic responses. Beverages also clear the stomach sooner than solid food and may induce weaker satiety signals in the gastrointestinal tract.

"Our study supports policy recommendations and public health efforts to reduce the intake of liquid , particularly from sugar-sweetened ," concludes Dr. Chen.

Source: Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Explore further: Snacking while watching action movies leads to overeating

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sweetened beverage consumption increases in the US

Dec 11, 2008

Over the past two decades, the number of adults consuming sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, fruit drinks and punches has increased dramatically, according to a study led by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg ...

Sugary drinks, not fruit juice, may be linked to insulin

Sep 05, 2007

Steady increases in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages over the last several decades, as well as rates of Type 2 diabetes mellitus, led nutritional epidemiologists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center ...

Children's consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages

Jun 02, 2008

A recent study published in Pediatrics and led by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health found that sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are an increasingly large part of children and teens' diets. ...

Recommended for you

Report highlights progress, challenges in health IT

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Progress has been made toward widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), although there are still barriers to adoption of advanced use of EHRs, according to a report published ...

Training your brain to prefer healthy foods

9 hours ago

It may be possible to train the brain to prefer healthy low-calorie foods over unhealthy higher-calorie foods, according to new research by scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center ...

Outdoor enthusiasts need a lightning plan

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Those partaking in outdoor sports and activities need to be aware of the threat posed by lightning and take appropriate safety measures, experts say.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Mauricio
not rated yet Apr 22, 2009
Ray Kurzweil published in 2004 a book called "Live enough to live forever" and he described that most of the calories in the diet of Americans is in sugar in sweet beverages!