Sugar, especially in drinks, can lead to weight gain without curbing appetite.
Danish researchers randomly assigned 22 overweight adults to consume beverages (like soft drinks and fruit drinks) or foods (like yogurt and ice cream) that were sweetened with either sucrose (table sugar) or artificial sweeteners. The sugar dose depended on the participant’s size, but averaged about 36 teaspoons a day—and 70 percent of it came from the beverages. (For comparison, a 12 oz. can of Pepsi has about 10 teaspoons of added sugars.) No one knew which sweeteners they were getting. In addition to the foods and drinks supplied by the researchers, the volunteers ate as much of other foods as they wanted.
After 10 weeks, the sucrose group had gained about 3 pounds, while the artificial sweetener group had lost about 2½ pounds. The sucrose group didn’t eat less of other foods to compensate for the extra sugar calories they were given, so they ended up getting more calories than the artificial sweetener group. Surprisingly, the sugar group also felt less full and had a greater appetite after lunch and dinner.
What to do: Cut back on all added sugars, and skip sugar-sweetened beverages like soft drinks, lemonade, and sweetened iced teas and coffees.
Source: Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2014. doi:10.3945/ ajcn.113.081554.
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