Reduce Weight Gain by Cutting Sugary Drinks
Two studies which were simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine recently show that limiting children’s intake of sugary beverages can help reduce weight gain, thereby providing support for public health guidelines to such effect.
In the first study called the DRINK trial, Martijn Katan, MD, PhD, of VU University Amsterdam and his colleagues gave more than 600 normal-weight school children (with an average age of 8 years) either a sugary beverage or sugar-free (artificially sweetened) drink daily for 18 months. The drinks were indistinguishable from one another and contained 104 and zero calories, respectively.
At the end of the study period, the children in the noncaloric group had smaller gains in BMI (body mass index), weight, waist-to-height ratio, skinfold-thickness measurements, and fat mass.
In a separate trial, Cara Ebbeling, PhD, of Boston Children’s Hospital and colleagues tested the effect of an intervention among overweight and obese adolescents who consumed at least 12 ounces of sugary drinks per day. The intervention involved replacing sugary drinks with bottled water and other noncaloric drinks in more than 200 of the children daily. They also received monthly phone calls, three check-in visits, and written instructions to avoid sugar sweetened beverages. The intervention lasted for a year, but the participants were followed for 2 years.
A control group received gift cards and no additional instruction.
The results showed that after one year, the differences in the changes in BMI and intake of sugary beverages was greater among participants in the intervention group, showing significant decreases in the consumption of sugary beverages and greater reductions in BMI compared to those of the control group. However, after the second year, there was no significant difference between the two groups.
Experts believe that these studies provide evidence that public health policies such as those in NYC may be useful.
Neale,T. Cutting Sugary Drinks Does Cut Weight Gain. MedPage Today.