BOSTON (UPI) — U.S. overweight and obese teens who drank fewer sugar-sweetened beverages gained less weight than those drinking sugary drinks, researchers say.
Cara Ebbeling and Dr. David Ludwig of Boston Children’s Hospital and colleagues said the study involved 224 overweight or obese ninth and 10th graders who regularly drank 1.7 sugary beverages a day.
The yearlong study intervention was designed to reduce consumption of these beverages by delivering non-caloric beverages to participants’ homes for participants and their families. The control group was given gift cards to buy whatever beverages they wanted.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found the experimental group of adolescents — who virtually eliminated consumption of sugary beverages — gained 4 fewer pounds and had essentially no body mass index increase compared to the control group. The control group continued to drink sugar-sweetened beverages regularly, but at reduced levels, possibly due to local public health efforts to reduce sugary drink consumption at school, Ebbeling said.
Hispanic adolescents showed the greatest benefit — gaining 14 fewer pounds than the control group.
“No other single food product has been shown to change body weight by this amount over a year simply through its reduction,” Ludwig said in a statement.