March 17, 2015 (Toronto) – In response to the American study “Diet Soda Intake Is Associated with Long-Term Increases in Waist Circumference in a Biethnic Cohort of Older Adults: The San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging,” a study published today, in the Journal of The American Geriatrics Society, the Canadian Beverage Association (CBA) has issued the following statements:
“Like other recent studies out of the US market, this needs context and clarification for Canadian consumers. This study wrongly infers that the older adult population is experiencing increased waist circumference because of choosing diet soft drinks, which the study fails to prove. It is more logical to suggest that choosing calorie reduced beverages at a time in life when metabolism decreases is a sensible way to reduce calories. Scientific research supports that diet beverages are an effective tool to use in overall weight management.”
President, Canadian Beverage Association
Renowned Canadian toxicologist Dr. Berna Magnuson stated:
“All this report shows is that the subjects saw a 1.4 cm increase in waist circumference in diet soda drinkers (+ 2.2 cm) as compared to non-diet soda drinkers (+ 0.8 cm). About half an inch over 10 years. It is simply not possible to conclude increases in waist circumference are due to zero-calorie drink consumption when no other dietary factors were considered. There have been numerous recent clinical human studies, where all other factors are controlled, showing the benefits of consumption of low-calorie beverages in both weight loss and weight maintenance. This recent study by Fowler and colleagues provides no credible evidence to the contrary. “
On the Study:
- This is an observational study that does not – and cannot – establish that low calorie sweeteners cause weight gain.
- The subjects of the study were of an age that put them at greater risk of a number of adverse health outcomes, including weight gain due to decreased metabolism.
On Low-Calorie Sweeteners and Diet Beverages:
- Artificial sweeteners that have been approved by Health Canada are considered safe for consumption by children, adolescents and adults in the general population when used within their prescribed conditions of use as specified in the List of Permitted Sweeteners on the Health Canada website.
- A study published in the journal Obesity showed that dieters who drank diet beverages as part of an overall weight loss program were able to lose weight successfully.
- The CHOICE study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, confirms that diet beverages can be an important tool in helping reduce calories and directly counters the illogical assertion that drinking diet beverages causes people to eat more or to want sweet foods and beverages.
- A review in Nutrition Reviews that examined the role of low-calorie sweeteners and weight management found that “to date, prospective observational studies have revealed mixed results, and it appears that reverse causality is a particular problem, since individuals who are at high risk for weight gain may choose to consume artificially-sweetened beverages in an attempt to control their weight or reduce disease risk.”
- The position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “consumers can safely enjoy a range of nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners when consumed within an eating plan that is guided by current federal nutrition recommendations, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Dietary Reference Intakes, as well as individual health goals and personal preference.”
- The American Diabetes Association states: “foods and drinks that use artificial sweeteners are another option that may help curb your cravings for something sweet.”