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CU Study Compares Losing Weight With Water & Diet Drinks

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CBS4's Kathy Walsh (credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Kathy Walsh (credit: CBS)

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AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – ‘Tis the season for resolutions, and losing weight is usually near the top of the list. But are diet drinks as good as water for dropping those excess pounds? There’s a study under way in Colorado to find the answer.

The folks at the University of Colorado Anschutz Health and Wellness Center are on the case.

Exercising six days a week is one way 28-year-old Kristi Norton is trying to lose weight.

“I feel like I want to get healthy and I want to be the person that I feel like I am inside,” Norton said.

Norton is also learning to make healthy food choices. She used to be a diet soda drinker.

“In the can I prefer Diet Pepsi, but in the bottle I prefer Diet Coke,” she said.

But now she’s strictly H2O.

“I’m in the water only group.”

Norton is taking part in research under way at the CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. Participants sign up for the Colorado Weigh Program for three months of weight loss and nine months of weight maintenance. But they’re also sorted into two groups. Half drink zero-calorie beverages and the other half just water.

“This is the first trial that compares water directly with non-nutritive beverages for a long period of time in people who are doing the torture test ‘lose weight and keep it off,’ ” Dr. John Peters said.

The hypothesis is that the results should be the same because both are calorie free, but nobody knows for sure.

“So the bottom line is, is that Diet Coke every day going to help you lose weight or hinder?” Peters said.

Half the study participants must make a commitment to go cold turkey.

Norton is more than willing to lose her diet drinks if it means gaining a healthier lifestyle.

The zero calorie drink study includes 300 subjects at two different sites. Fifty participants are still needed at Anschutz Center in Aurora. They must be 21 to 65, drink three or more diet beverages a week, be above the ideal body weight, and a non-smoker and non-diabetic.

For more information on the study contact rebecca.stark@ucdenver.edu or gabriela.aguayo@ucdenver.edu.

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