There are increasingly more varieties and brands of light drinks that seem to assure us that we can enjoy their sweet taste without worrying about weight gain. But, are they really effective for losing weight?
What is a light drink?
A light drink has to have at least a 30% reduction in calories (and sugars) from the original version. A ‘zero’ drink in theory has no calories or sugars. However, the terms light and ‘zero’ are used interchangeably and most beverage brands that place the word ‘light’ on their label do not contain sugars or calories. There are some sodas, soft drinks, or juices that have reduced sugar but still have calories, so you should always check the nutritional information per serving.
Advantages of Light Drinks For Weight Loss
Light drinks can be considered as allies for weight loss because they can add variety to your diet and allow you to enjoy a drink other than water at social gatherings, celebrations or restaurant outings and actually do contribute fewer calories and sugars than their regular counterparts, which favors weight loss.
Light refreshments can also aid in your consuption of liquids, since some people find it “boring” to always drink water. Another point in favor is that gasified light drinks offer more satiety at the gastric level and can contribute to you eating less food during the meals.
Disadvantages of light drinks
It’s important to emphasize that light drinks do not hydrate like water, so you can not replace the consumption of water with soda, juice and soft drinks even if they have no sugar. There have also been numerous studies that have demonstrated that light and diet drinks generate more anxiety and desire for sweet foods and cause people to “cheat” on their diets. This is because the excessive sweet taste of light drinks causes a need in the brain to continue consuming sweet foods.
Another negative point of light drinks is the amount of chemical additives they contain: non-caloric sweeteners, flavorings, colorings, preservatives, flavorings, etc. Of course, ordinary sugary drinks also have them, but if you compare them to water it’s clear that they aren’t precisely healthy drinks.
Attention should be paid to the ingredients of light drinks because some non-caloric sweeteners, such as cyclamate and saccharin, have been linked to the development of cancer in rats, although there have been no conclusive studies on humans. Recently, a Canadian study showed that people abusing light drinks had a threefold risk of having Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and cerebral ischemia.
Finally, it’s unhealthy for children under the age of 10 to consume light drinks, because they weigh less than adults, the amounts of non-caloric sweeteners can cause them adverse health effects.
When dieting, light drinks can help people stick to their diet and not “miss” sugary drinks. The key is to educate people who want to lose weight and recomending that they don’t exceed half a liter of light drinks a day. That is to say, drink them moderately for their benefits, but don’t abuse them.
It’s also important to emphasize the importance hydration with water, since most individuals consume much less than the recommended 2 liters daily, and to clarify that the consumption of light drinks is not equivalent to drinking water.