Background: Beverages are contributing an increased proportion of energy to the diet. Because they elicit a weak compensatory dietary response, they may increase risk of positive energy balance.
Objectives: This study aimed to document the differential effects of matched liquid and solid carbohydrate loads on diet and body weight.
Design: In a cross-over design, seven males and eight females consumed dietary carbohydrate loads of 1880 kJ/day as a liquid (soda) or solid (jelly beans) during two 4 week periods separated by a 4 week washout. Subjects were permitted to consume the loads however they chose. In addition to baseline measurements, diet records were obtained on random days throughout the study, body composition was measured weekly, physical activity was assessed before and after treatments and hunger was assessed during washout and midway through each treatment.
Results: Free-feeding energy intake during the solid period was significantly lower than intake prior to this period. Dietary energy compensation was precise (118%). No decrease in free-feeding energy intake occurred during the liquid period. Total daily energy intake increased by an amount equal to the load resulting in dietary compensation of -17%. Consequently, body weight and BMI increased significantly only during the liquid period. Physical activity and hunger were unchanged.
Conclusions: This study indicates that liquid carbohydrate promotes positive energy balance, whereas a comparable solid carbohydrate elicits precise dietary compensation. Increased consumption of energy-yielding fluids may promote positive energy balance.