That Sugar Movement


Weight loss from one less sugary drink a week


Looking for a simple way to kick-start long-term, sustainable weight loss? Turn your attention toward your sugary drink.

A new study has revealed there is a close correlation between how much soft drink one consumes and propensity to put on the pounds.

Excess added sugar consumption leading to weight gain is not new news. How readily one increases body fat mass as a result of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) will vary, but most will feel the effect.

Data collated from 3 prospective cohort studies found replacing SSB (including fruit juice) with water resulted in lower long-term weight gain.1

This latest piece of research followed 11,218 women in Mexico over 2 years, noting various dietary and lifestyle factors as well as weight and waist circumference.2

Compared to those who had no change to fizzy drink habits and allowing for lifestyle and other dietary factors, in that time small increases in weight were seen in those who increased consumption to one or more serves of soft drink a week, and weight increased by 1kg in those who consumed 1 SSB a day.

Only 1kg you say? Sure, it mightn’t sound like much. But keep in mind that 2 years isn’t long, and the women drinking less than 1 SSB per week experienced weight loss by about 0.5kg.

The study authors noted, “…it is likely that changes in weight and waist circumference would be larger if the changes in sugar-sweetened soda consumption are sustained over time.”

Over time, gradual and on-going weight gain, or gradual and sustained weight loss, can make a difference to overall health outcomes.

A final point to consider. There weren’t any significant shifts in weight in those consuming diet drinks over the sugar-sweetened stuff. However, past studies have identified there is a correlation between diet drink consumption and weight gain, as they may mess with our metabolism and encourage us to eat more.

The study authors noted, “although there is evidence to support that sugar-free soda consumption might result in weight loss by limiting energy intake, some studies have suggested that intake of noncaloric sweetener could result in metabolic abnormalities and weight gain.”

If you are a habitual pop drinker or simply looking for an alternative to those fizzy drinks, swap for plain sparkling or soda water infused with fresh fruit and herbs.

Try lemon or lime slices with fresh mint, a few berries with a hint of vanilla, or cucumber slices with fresh basil leaves. Yum!

Finally, the term ‘sugary drinks’ isn’t reserved for soft drinks. Be aware of sugars in fruit drinks, fruit juices, flavoured milk and water, some pre-made store-bought smoothies, sweetened fancy coffee or teas, sports and energy drinks. All contain added or free sugars that will impact the body in a similar way.

By Angela Johnson (BHSc Nut. Med) 



  1. Pan, A, Malik, VS, Hao, T, Willett, WC, Mozaffarian, D, & Hu, FB 2013, ‘Changes in water and beverage intake and long-term weight changes: results from three prospective cohort studies’, International Journal Of Obesity (2005), vol. 37, no. 10, pp. 1378-1385.
  2. Stern, D Middaugh, N Rice, MS Laden, F López-Ridaura, R Rosner, B Willett, W & Lajous, M2017, “Changes in Sugar-Sweetened Soda Consumption, Weight, and Waist Circumference: 2-Year Cohort of Mexican Women”, American Journal of Public Health, [ePub ahead of print].
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