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Diet Drinks Shown Superior to Water For Weight Loss and Weight Control

Diet soda or water?

Diet soda or water?

I have been highly criticized for advocating the use of diet drinks (artificially sweetened zero-calorie drinks) and artificial sweeteners, and I’ve been maligned for contradicting claims that diet drinks actually interfere with permanent weight loss, adversely affecting metabolism and increasing hunger. Now there’s solid scientific proof that validates what I’ve been saying. New research published in the February 2016 scientific journal Obesity confirms that diet drinks are an effective tool for permanent weight loss.

A team of researchers from the University of Colorado, University of Florida and Temple University followed 303 overweight and obese people for a year, half of them instructed to drink at least 24 ounces of water per day (but no diet drinks) and half of them instructed to drink at least 24 ounces of diet drinks per day. At the end of the year, the researchers concluded that diet drinks were “superior for weight loss and weight maintenance” and that they “can be an effective tool for weight loss and maintenance within the context of a weight management program.”

For years I have strongly recommended diet drinks, along with the behavioral techniques I used for my own 140 pound loss, now maintained for 30 years. I and my patients have reported that diet drinks are a big help for permanent weight loss and been scolded for it. But we were right all along.

Among the findings:

1) During the initial 12-week weight loss period, the diet drinkers lost over 50% more than the water drinkers.

2) During the 40-week maintenance period, the water drinkers regained more than twice as much as the diet drinkers, so that at the end of the study, the diet drinkers lost almost 3 times as much as the water drinkers, and avoided the big regain.

3) Waist circumference in both groups decreased, but the diet drinkers lost significantly more girth than the water drinkers.

4) The diet drinkers experienced a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure while the water drinkers saw no change.

5) Subjects in the water group reported feeling significantly more hunger while the diet drink group reported no increase in hunger.

These results debunk the theories that diet drinks somehow cause weight gain instead of weight loss and that they interfere adversely with metabolism or increase hunger.

All study participants engaged in the same comprehensive cognitive-behavioral weight loss intervention, but half followed instructions to drink 24 ounces of diet drinks per day, and half followed instructions to drink water instead. The diet drinkers could drink more than that if they wanted (water too), and the water drinkers could drink more water, but not diet drinks. A computer-generated randomization schedule assigned participants to the groups, stratified by sex, to assure equal distribution of women and men to each group.

Both groups attended meetings that were led by registered dietitians or clinical psychologists and were instructed on behavioral weight loss strategies. The meetings and program that both groups followed were exactly the same, except for the difference of diet drinks. They attended 12 weekly meetings at first, during the weight loss period of their study, followed by 9 monthly meetings during the maintenance portion. Examples of topics include self-monitoring, portion sizes, reading food labels, physical activity and insights into weight loss maintenance from the National Weight Control Registry.

I want to emphasize that I encourage drinking lots of water to all my readers and patients but advise using diet drinks as a substitute for all soft drinks. Water is the most important of the six essential nutrients and consuming copious amounts of water is essential to good health.

I also want to emphasize that diet drinks or any of the products, medications or procedures I have advocated are not, by themselves, a “magic bullet” for weight loss or weight control. Behavioral change, accomplished by application of an eclectic blend of behavioral therapy technique, is the only “miracle cure” that exists, if personal change and permanent weight loss is thought to be a miracle. However, there are many tools in the tool box of success in permanent weight loss, and diet drinks are one of the most important.

William Anderson is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in weight loss, eating disorders and addictions. He solved his own long-time weight problem, losing 140 pounds 30 years ago and has kept it off since. He is the author of The Anderson Method.

U.S. Obesity Rate Sky Rocketing.

(First published in The New York Times )

Obesity Rises Despite All Efforts to Fight It, U.S. Health Officials Say
By SABRINA TAVERNISENOV. 12, 2015

WASHINGTON — Despite years of efforts to reduce obesity in America, including a major push by Michelle Obama, federal health officials reported Thursday that the share of Americans who were obese had not declined in recent years, and had edged up slightly.

About 38 percent of American adults were obese in 2013 and 2014, up from 35 percent in 2011 and 2012. Researchers said the increase was small enough that it was not statistically significant. But to many in public health, it was surprising and disheartening.

“The trend is very unfortunate and very disappointing,” said Marion Nestle, a professor in the department of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. “Everybody was hoping that with the decline in sugar and soda consumption, that we’d start seeing a leveling off of adult obesity.”

Death Rates Rising for Middle-Aged White Americans, Study FindsNOV. 2, 2015
By the Numbers: More Details on Rising Mortality Among Middle-Aged Whites.
And compared with a decade ago, the increase was significant: In 2003 and 2004, about 32 percent of adults were obese, said the report’s lead author, Cynthia L. Ogden.

Health experts had hoped that gradual improvements in the American diet in recent years might have moved the needle on obesity. Consumption of full-calorie soda has dropped by a quarter since the late 1990s, and there is evidence that calorie intake has dropped for adults and children. Obesity began rising in the 1980s, but the rate flattened in the 2000s, and declines among young children in some cities had lifted expectations that the epidemic might be easing.

Obesity among young people was unchanged in 2013 and 2014 from the previous period, the report found. Seventeen percent of Americans ages 2 to 19 were obese, the same as in 2003 and 2004. Experts pointed out that far more work had been done to fight obesity in children, including changes in school lunches and the removal of sugar-sweetened beverages from some school systems.

The figures are from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the gold standard for federal health data, released every two years. For smaller slices of the American population — for example, women or blacks — researchers used four years of data, from 2011 through 2014, for the most reliable results.

Some of the most striking numbers were among minorities. About 57 percent of black women were obese from 2011 to 2014, the highest rate of any demographic. Next highest were Hispanic women, at 46 percent, and Hispanic men, at 39 percent. About 36 percent of white women were obese, and 34 percent of white men. The prevalence of obesity was lowest among Asians, who had a combined rate of about 12 percent.

Dr. Walter Willett, the chairman of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health, cautioned that the modest improvements nationwide were extremely unevenly spread, with most of them happening among more educated Americans. A paper he helped write, published this month in Health Affairs, found that Americans’ diets had improved in quality from 1999 to 2012 — with a reduction in trans fats, small increases in fiber and less soda consumption — but that most of those advances were not happening among lower-income, less educated Americans.

 

“In general, there’s been a big gap” between rich and poor, Dr. Willett said. “When we take the U.S. average, we are hiding a lot of detail.”

There were a few other surprises. Men had more or less caught up to women in obesity prevalence in recent years, but the new numbers showed that women had edged ahead again, Dr. Ogden said. About 38 percent of adult women were obese from 2011 to 2014, the report found, compared with 34 percent of men.

Middle-aged Americans were hardest hit. Adults ages 40 to 59 had the highest rate of obesity, 40 percent, followed by people 60 and over, 37 percent of whom were obese. About 32 percent of 20- to 39-year-olds were obese.

Kelly D. Brownell, the dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, said the new figures were a reminder that many risks, such as the prevalence and inexpensiveness of junk food, had not gone away, and a sign that policy makers needed to redouble their efforts to, for example, impose a tax on soda.

“The emergency flag has gone up,” he said. “We are not doing nearly enough.”

 

Guess The Calories in Each of These.

desserts

A lot of people would have you believe that “calories don’t count”. But I lost 140 pounds and have kept it off by developing habits of eating what I like within my caloric “budget”. You can too. One of these desserts will help you lose weight. The other is a disaster.

The hot fudge sundae here has 1470 calories. With many women, that’s a whole days’ calorie budget. If she was eating a dietician’s diet, and had something like this only once a week, she’d gain almost 25 pounds in one year! She gain 100 pounds in four years!

The strawberries and cream has only 150 calories. You could have something like this a couple of times a week and lose that 25 pounds at the same time if you knew what to do. Get my book or work with one of my therapists and you can learn how.

One of My Favorite Amazon Reviews (now 65 5-Star out of 86 Total!)

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I just received my 65th 5-Star rating on Amazon’s reviews. Book critics may not like my book, but the people who want to lose sure do! I’ve sold over 10,000 books so far and my therapist network has worked with thousands. The reviews and testimonials we get are so wonderful to read! We love knowing how our work is helping people.

But, there are over 300,000,000 people in the U.S. alone (the book is sold all over the world) and 70% of them need to lose weight for a healthy and happy future, so we have a long way to go!

If you’ve gotten my book and you like it, please write a nice review on Amazon, and you’ll have my sincere gratitude for life! If you haven’t gotten my book, please do! Here’s Amazon’s link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Anderson-Method-Secret-Permanent/dp/1935097288

If you have a question or a request, don’t hesitate to make a comment here or email me at the email address on the media page.

 

My Latest Amazon Review (now 65 5-Star out of 86 Total!)

test

I just received my 65th 5-Star rating on Amazon’s reviews. Book critics may not like my book, but the people who want to lose sure do! I’ve sold over 10,000 books so far and my therapist network has worked with thousands. The reviews and testimonials we get are so wonderful to read! We love knowing how our work is helping people.

But, there are over 300,000,000 people in the U.S. alone (the book is sold all over the world) and 70% of them need to lose weight for a healthy and happy future, so we have a long way to go!

If you’ve gotten my book and you like it, please write a nice review on Amazon,  and you’ll have my sincere gratitude for life! If you haven’t gotten my book, please do! Here’s Amazon’s link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Anderson-Method-Secret-Permanent/dp/1935097288

If you have a question or a request, don’t hesitate to make a comment here or email me at the email address on the media page.