The effects of water and non-nutritive sweetened beverages on weight loss and weight maintenance: A randomized clinical trial

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Feb;24(2):297-304. doi: 10.1002/oby.21327. Epub 2015 Dec 26.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of water versus beverages sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) on body weight in subjects enrolled in a year-long behavioral weight loss treatment program.

Methods: The study used a randomized equivalence design with NNS or water beverages as the main factor in a trial among 303 weight-stable people with overweight and obesity. All participants participated in a weight loss program plus assignment to consume 24 ounces (710 ml) of water or NNS beverages daily for 1 year.

Results: NNS and water treatments were non-equivalent, with NNS treatment showing greater weight loss at the end of 1 year. At 1 year subjects receiving water had maintained a 2.45 ± 5.59 kg weight loss while those receiving NNS beverages maintained a loss of 6.21 ± 7.65 kg (P < 0.001 for difference).

Conclusions: Water and NNS beverages were not equivalent for weight loss and maintenance during a 1-year behavioral treatment program. NNS beverages were superior for weight loss and weight maintenance in a population consisting of regular users of NNS beverages who either maintained or discontinued consumption of these beverages and consumed water during a structured weight loss program. These results suggest that NNS beverages can be an effective tool for weight loss and maintenance within the context of a weight management program.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beverages
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners / administration & dosage*
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Water / administration & dosage*
  • Weight Loss / physiology*


  • Non-Nutritive Sweeteners
  • Water