Low/No Calorie Sweetened Beverage Consumption in the National Weight Control Registry

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Author(s): Catenacci VA, Pan Z, Thomas JG, Ogden LG, Roberts SA, Wyatt HR, Wing RR, Hill JO
Publication name: Obesity (Silver Spring), 2014 Oct; 22(10): 2241-51
Publication year: 2014


Using an online survey, this study examined low calorie beverage consumption, and strategies and motivation behind their use in successful weight loss maintainers in National Weight Control Registry (NWCR). NWCR was established to study the characteristics and behaviors of individuals successful at long-term weight loss maintenance. Changing beverage consumption pattern was regarded as a useful tool for weight loss and maintenance by the majority of the participants surveyed. Increasing water consumption was the most common and important change reported for both weight loss and weight maintenance, followed by reducing regular calorie beverages. 58% of the weight loss maintainers regularly consumed low calorie beverages, while 10% regularly consumed sugar-sweetened beverages. The top five reasons for choosing low calorie beverages were for taste, to satisfy thirst, as part of routine, to reduce calories, and to accompany the meals. 78% of the participants who consumed low calorie beverages reported that they felt that low calorie beverages helped them control or reduce their total food or calorie intake. These findings suggest that low calorie beverages may play an important role in a weight control program.


Objective: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate prevalence of and strategies behind low/no calorie sweetened beverage (LNCSB) consumption in successful weight loss maintainers. Methods: An online survey was administered to 434 members of the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR, individuals who have lost ?13.6 kg and maintained weight loss for > 1 year). Results: While few participants (10%) consume sugar-sweetened beverages on a regular basis, 53% regularly consume LNCSB. The top five reasons for choosing LNCSB were for taste (54%), to satisfy thirst (40%), part of routine (27%), to reduce calories (22%) and to go with meals (21%). The majority who consume LNCSB (78%) felt they helped control total calorie intake. Many participants considered changing patterns of beverage consumption to be very important in weight loss (42%) and maintenance (40%). Increasing water was by far the most common strategy, followed by reducing regular calorie beverages. Conclusions: Regular consumption of LNCSB is common in successful weight loss maintainers for various reasons including helping individuals to limit total energy intake. Changing beverage consumption patterns was felt to be very important for weight loss and maintenance by a substantial percentage of successful weight loss maintainers in the NWCR.

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