Study: beverages bigger factor than food in weight gain

Adding to the growing reservoir of research suggesting that sugary beverages may not the best nutritional choice, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reported that sugary beverage consumption is a bigger factor in weight gain than food consumption.

Benjamin Caballero, MD, PhD, professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of International Health and the study’s senior author said both liquid and solid calories led to weight change, but only liquid calorie reduction was observed to significantly affect weight loss during a 6-month follow up.

The study broke beverages into seven categories: sugar-sweetened beverages, diet drinks, milk, 100 percent juice, coffee and tea with sugar, coffee and tea without sugar and alcoholic beverages. At 37 percent, the researchers found that sugar-sweetened beverages were the leading source of liquid calories. Researchers also found that sugar-sweetened beverages were the only type of beverages significantly associated with weight gain at 6- and 18-month assessments.

Another recent study, this one led by Simmons College in Boston, concluded that consumption of sugary beverages put women at a higher risk for coronary disease.