Teenagers wanting to maintain a healthy body weight should forget about diet soft drinks, and go for milk instead according to new research.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health used data from Project EAT (Eating Among Teens), a five-year study of eating patterns among 2294 adolescents, to examine the relationship between beverage intake and change in Body Mass Index (BMI).
They found that teenagers who drank milk had a significantly lower increase in BMI than those who rarely or never consumed milk.
This is consistent with a growing body of scientific research which shows a connection between dairy consumption and weight management in adults.
Some studies show that people who consume at least the government's recommended two to three servings of low or reduced-fat dairy each day are more successful with weight management and weight loss than those who don’t.
Interestingly, diet soft drink consumption was associated with BMI gain.
The authors suggested that this may be due to the relationship between diet soft drink consumption and dieting behaviours.
They noted that dieting has been shown to be associated with weight gain in previous studies with adolescents.
The study’s authors concluded that interventions with adolescents should promote the consumption of low-fat milk and decrease the availability of sugar sweetened beverages in school and home settings.
"Unfortunately many Australian teenagers and young women cut back on dairy when they are watching their weight – this research shows that this is the last thing they should do," Dairy Australia’s dietitian Glenys Kerrins said.
Her advice for managing weight is to "cut out junk foods, exercise more, and focus on eating nutrient rich foods, including three serves of dairy, every day".
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