15/02/2012 13:01 GMT | Updated 16/04/2012 06:12 BST

Are Diet Drinks The Key To Weight Loss?

Swapping sugary, fizzy drinks for slim-line versions or water can help dieters lose up to 5% of their body weight in six months, an obesity study has revealed.

The research, due to be published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, compared the weight loss of 318 overweight or obese people over a six-month period.

The subjects were divided into three groups - one swapped high-calorie drinks for diet alternatives, a second switched to water and a third continued to drink their regular drink but were also given information about healthy choices that could lead to weight loss.

Those who switched to calorie-free drinks - either water or diet drinks - were twice as likely to lose 5% of their body weight than those who continued to drink sugary drinks.

Professor Deborah Tate, study author at the University of North Carolina, said: "Substituting non-caloric beverages - whether it's water, diet soft drinks or something else - can be a clear and simple change for people who want to lose or maintain weight.

"If this were done on a large scale, it could significantly reduce the increasing public health problem of obesity."

Although water, not surprisingly, showed positive results, Professor Tate explained that diet drinks could help those who enjoy the sweet taste of fizzy drinks to stick to their diet plan.

However, she also pointed out that water had additional benefits such as reducing blood sugar levels.

When embarking on a weight-loss plan it is a common mistake for dieters to think only of their food intake and assume that their drinking habits will have little effect. But with a few simple changes to your drinks consumption, it's possible to drastically reduce your daily intake...

How To Drink Yourself Slim