ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – According to a new study, drinking diet sodas may help people lose more weight than those who just drink water.

Researchers conducted a 12-week weight-loss program and found that people who drank diet soda and diet iced tea lost an average of 13 pounds, while people who drank only water lost an average of 9 pounds — a 44 percent difference.

“What we don’t know from this study is what the overall quality of the diet was,” Judith Wylie-Rosett, a professor at the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health and the Department of Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York, told LiveScience. “It answers some questions, but raises a bund of others, in terms of how it may work in terms of diet beverages versus water.”

Wylie-Rosett went on to say that diet and physical activity play a role in weight loss.

“I think, for people who are trying to lose weight, we need to look at their overall pattern of their whole lifestyle,” she told LiveScience. The researchers did not include information about the participants’ diet included.

Over 300 people participated in the study. Researchers said that all the participants had to follow the same diet and physical activity plan. The only difference was what they were assigned to drink.

The people in the diet-beverage group also reported they were feeling less hungry.

“I was surprised that diet beverages performed better than water,” John C. Peters, the chief strategy officer of the Colorado University Abnshutz Health and Wellness Center, and the study’s author, told LiveScience. “We are just trying to say, ‘Don’t worry if you’re drinking them while you’re trying to lose weight. It is not going to mess up your appetite, or make you want to eat a giant Danish or breakfast roll.’”

Researchers also found that 64 percent of the participants in the diet-beverage group lost at least 5 percent of their weight. Only 43 percent of the water group lost 5 percent of their weight.

The researchers say that losing 5 percent of your body weight can help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese.

The study was funded by the American Beverage Association and was published in the journal Obesity.


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