If all you ever hear is “diets don’t work,” it’s easy to become discouraged about trying to lose weight. You even may have tried a few fad diets yourself and gained first-hand experience with their long-term ineffectiveness. But that doesn’t mean there is no hope in controlling your weight. What it may mean is you’re ready to forget about fad diets and turn to the research on what does work for weight management. Here’s a short recap of some of the latest findings that can help, including related weight loss tips.
Weight Loss Tip: Replace Sugar with No-Calorie and Low-Calorie Sweeteners
Research published in the May 2015 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reviewed 10 studies on the impact of replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with alternative lower calorie beverages, including water and diet drinks made with no-calorie and low-calorie sweeteners, such as SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener. The researchers found this simple substitution was associated with lower calorie intake and lower weight gain in the long term. Based on the available evidence, the researchers concluded there is a potential benefit on body weight by substituting water and other low-calorie beverages for sugar-sweetened ones.
The above results were reinforced in a larger systematic review of the evidence from 90 animal studies and 245 human studies in adults and children on the effects of low-calorie sweeteners on energy intake and body weight. The findings were published in the International Journal of Obesity in November 2015 and found no evidence from the many short and long term studies in humans that “low energy sweeteners” increase energy intake or body weight. In fact, the review concluded that use of no-calorie sweeteners in place of added sugar, can help one to lose weight and that research should now be focused on how we can best use no-calorie sweeteners for the most effective weight loss strategies.
And just in case you’ve heard that consuming low-calorie sweeteners might backfire by increasing your preference for other sweet tasting foods and drinks, another important study put that myth to rest. In a paper published in Current Obesity Reports in March 2015, researchers analyzed the data from several types of studies to determine the effects of no- and low-calorie sweeteners on appetite for, and intake of, sweet tasting products. What they found was there was no consistent relationship to support a heightened appetite for sweet foods, and some studies actually showed no- and low-calorie sweeteners were associated with consumption of fewer sweets. In studies involving both children and adults the research showed the use of no- and low-calorie sweeteners can reduce the intake of caloric sweeteners and support weight loss efforts.
Weight Loss Tip: Text Your Way to Better Health
The Annual Review of Public Health in March 2015 published a review of dozens of studies that looked at the use of text messages to assist people in reaching their health goals. One of the first things the researchers found was there is a wide range of app features and types of messages available. Some apps allow for interaction, offer personalized messages or can be programmed to customize the frequency of message delivery. General messages offer advice, motivation, encouragement, tips and/or support to users on a regular basis. The researchers found the majority of the interventions were effective when addressing weight loss and some other health goals including smoking cessation and diabetes management. In short, it’s like having a support group in your smartphone.
Weight Loss Tip: Rearrange the Kitchen
The foods on the kitchen counter in your own home can have an impact on your weight, according to a study published in Health Education and Behavior in October 2015. The researchers found the more visible and convenient foods such as cookies, cereal and soft drinks are in the kitchen, the more likely household members will have a high Body Mass Index. On the other hand, the food most often found on kitchen counters in homes of people who are not overweight was fresh fruit. These results are consistent with other research done by this team that found office workers ate more candy when it was on their desks than when it was in the desk drawer or on a filing cabinet. According to lead researcher Brian Wansink, PhD., the visibility and convenience of food has a greater influence on how much we eat compared to hunger.
Putting the Latest Research on Weight Loss into Action in the New Year:
- Switch to no-calorie and low-calorie sweeteners, like SPLENDA® Sweeteners, in place of sugar in your drinks and use diet beverages and water instead of full-calorie drinks.
- Download a coaching app to your smartphone, tablet or computer to support and encourage you to reach your weight loss goals every day.
- Remove high calorie, high fat snack foods from the kitchen counter (and office desk) and keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter.
I have been compensated for my time by Heartland Food Products Group, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.
For more information about living a healthier lifestyle, visit the Healthy Lifestyle section of this blog.
Robyn Flipse, MS, MA, RDN, “The Everyday RD,” is an author and nutrition consultant who has headed the nutrition services department in a large teaching hospital and maintained a private practice where she provided diet therapy to individuals and families. With more than 30 years of experience, Robyn is motivated by the opportunity to help people make the best eating decisions for their everyday diet. She believes that choosing what to eat should not be a daily battle and aims to separate the facts from the fiction so you can enjoy eating well.
- Zheng M, et.al .(3). Substitution of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages with Other Beverage Alternatives: A Review of Long-Term Health Outcomes. JAND. 2015;11(5):767-779
- Rogers PJ, et. al. (10). Does low-energy sweetener consumption affect energy intake and body weight? A systematic review, including meta-analyses, of the evidence from human and animal studies. Int J Obes. November 10, 2015; doi: 10.1038/ijo.2015.177
- Bellisle F. Intense Sweeteners, Appetite for the Sweet Taste, and Relationship to Weight Management. Curr Obes Rep.2015;4:106-110
- Hall A, Cole-Lewis H, Bernhardt JM. Mobile Text Messaging for Health: A Systematic Review of Reviews. Ann Rev Pub Health. 2015;36:393-415
- Wansink B, Hanks AS, Kaipainen K. Slim by Design Kitchen Counter Correlates of Obesity. Health Educ Behav. October 19, 2015. doi:10.1177/1090198115610571
- Wansink B, Painter JE, Lee Y-K. The Office candy dish: proximity’s influence on estimated and actual consumption. Int J Obes. 2006;30:871-875