HealthDay News — Children and teens who drink low-calorie sweetened beverages (LCSB) do not save calories versus those who drink sugary drinks, according to a study published online May 2 in Pediatric Obesity.

Allison C. Sylvetsky, Ph.D. from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and colleagues used 24-hour dietary recalls from 7,026 children enrolled in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2011 to 2016) to assess energy and macronutrient intake among LCSB (≥4 oz LCSB; <4 oz SB), SB (≥4 oz SB; <4 oz LCSB), and LCSB + SB consumers (≥4 oz each) compared with water consumers (≥4 oz water; <4 oz LCSB and SB).

The researchers found that after adjusting for body mass index percentile, LCSB was associated with taking in 196 more total calories, SB with 312 more total calories, and LCSB + SB with 450 more total calories versus water consumers (P < 0.05 for all pairwise comparisons). LCSB, SB, and LCSB + SB consumption were associated with 15, 39, and 46 more calories from added sugar, respectively, compared with water consumers (P < 0.05 for all pairwise comparisons). There were no differences in energy intake between LCSB and SB consumers.

“These results challenge the utility of diet or low-calorie sweetened beverages when it comes to cutting calories and weight management,” Sylvetsky said in a statement. “Our findings suggest that water should be recommended as the best choice for kids and teens.”

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