It is unclear whether consumption of low-calorie beverages (LCB) leads to compensatory consumption of sweet foods, thus reducing benefits for weight control or diet quality. This analysis investigated associations between beverage consumption and energy intake and diet quality of adults in the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) (2008-2011; n = 1590), classified into: (a) non-consumers of soft drinks (NC); (b) LCB consumers; (c) sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumers; or (d) consumers of both beverages (BB), based on 4-day dietary records. Within-person data on beverage consumption on different days assessed the impact on energy intake. LCB consumers and NC consumed less energy and non-milk extrinsic sugars than other groups. Micronutrient intakes and food choices suggested higher dietary quality in NC/LCB consumers compared with SSB/BB consumers. Within individuals on different days, consumption of SSB, milk, juice, and alcohol were all associated with increased energy intake, while LCB and tea, coffee or water were associated with no change; or reduced energy intake when substituted for caloric beverages. Results indicate that NC and LCB consumers tend to have higher quality diets compared with SSB or BB consumers and do not compensate for sugar or energy deficits by consuming more sugary foods.
Gibson, S. A., Horgan, G. W., Francis, L. E., Gibson, A. A., & Stephen, A. M. (2016). Low calorie beverage consumption is associated with energy and nutrient intakes and diet quality in British adults. Nutrients, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8010009