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Does Crystal Light Work to Lose Weight?

by
author image Catalina Logan
Catalina Logan began writing professionally in 2005. She has been an editor for “Kopa” literary magazine and her work appeared in the publication as well. A fitness and outdoors enthusiast, Logan is a long-distance runner and has scaled the highest peaks of Malaysia and Vietnam. Logan holds a Bachelor of Arts in American studies from Yale University.
Does Crystal Light Work to Lose Weight?
A pitcher of lemonade on the table. Photo Credit Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

If you’re trying to lose weight, chances are you’ve read nutrition articles that stress the importance to dieters of drinking enough fluids and also being aware of the number of calories it’s possible to take in through drinks. It’s increasingly recognized that flavor in what you drink can encourage you to drink more. If you use Crystal Light to play this role as a drink flavorer, or if you drink Crystal Light as a replacement for full-calorie drinks, your chances of being able to incorporate it into a weight loss effort are very good.

Background

Crystal Light is a low-calorie flavoring that can be mixed into plain water. It uses artificial sweeteners -- different sweeteners according to what type of Crystal Light you’re drinking -- and has about five calories per serving. Its appeal may lie in the fact that it tastes sweet, since people in the U.S. are used to drinks that are super sweet. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a typical soft drink has about 3 tsp of sugar per 12 oz. Its appeal also comes from its low-calorie nature: according to Jane Brody at "The New York Times," “15 percent of Americans regularly consume beverages and foods that contain artificial sweeteners.”

Behavior

How you use Crystal Light in your diet will determine whether it “works” to help you lose weight. Experts published in 2009 an article on the effects of non-nutritive sweeteners on appetite, food intake and weight published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." They noted that low-calorie sweeteners can aid in weight control only if dieters don’t overcompensate for the “free ticket” they get from the calorie free drink by eating lots of high-calorie foods at the same time.

Biology

You should also be aware that some researchers think non-nutritive sweeteners like those in Crystal Light lead to an increased desire for sweet-tasting foods. According to studies cited in "The New York Times," for a study lab animals were given caloric sweeteners or saccharin with a regular and unrestricted diet. The animals given nonnutritive saccharin gained more weight and more body fat because, researchers said, they overcompensated for the non-caloric sweetener. It's possible that your body could react in the same way when you taste sweetness but when no energy comes in as a result, leading you to have stronger cravings for caloric foods.

Benefits

If you’re cutting out sugary beverages and replacing it with Crystal Light, though, you may be setting yourself out on a path to better health. According to a study cited by the Harvard School of Public Health, research on nearly 90,000 women over two decades found that women who drank more than two servings of sugary drink daily had almost a 40 percent higher heart disease risk than women who drank sugary beverages only rarely. As such, if you can manage to successfully replace real-sugar drinks with no-sugar or fake-sugar drinks, you’ll be doing yourself good along health lines as well as hopefully along weight lines, too.

Alternatives

If you get bored of the taste of Crystal Light beverages, the Harvard School of Public Health recommends brewing up some “spa water,” water flavored with fruit or vegetable slices or herbs that tastes good but doesn’t pack the caloric wallop that soda or fruit juice would, helping you take in water to be healthy but avoid extra calories that can lead to weight gain. Harvard recommends adding slices or zest of citrus fruit, crushed fresh mint or other herbs, peeled sliced ginger or sliced cucumber.

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