Could my seltzer habit make me gain?

First For Women - - Nutrition -

Q: I strug­gle to drink enough wa­ter, so I started keep­ing fla­vored seltzer in my of­fice, and I’ve been down­ing a few cans a day. I was feel­ing pretty good about that since it’s sugar-free, but then a co­worker said the car­bon­a­tion could lead to weight gain. Is that true?

A: Your col­league’s warn­ing isn’t un­war­ranted. In a study in the jour­nal Obe­sity Re­search & Clin­i­cal Prac­tice, sub­jects who drank plain car­bon­ated wa­ter gained 19% more weight over 14 weeks than those who drank still wa­ter. The rea­son: The bub­bles trig­ger the re­lease of the hunger hor­mone ghre­lin. In fact, sub­jects given sparkling wa­ter at a meal had ghre­lin lev­els that were six times higher than those given still wa­ter—and that hor­mone spike caused them to eat more at the meal and bat­tle in­creased crav­ings later.

That said, it’s bet­ter to drink seltzer than sug­ary drinks, so if you don’t want to switch to still wa­ter, we sug­gest a sim­ple step to keep ghre­lin in check: Eat at least 20 grams of pro­tein at each meal—think 3.5 oz. of chicken or

1⁄2 cup of black beans. The pro­tein will lower ghre­lin lev­els and boost sati­ety to help you eat less through­out the day.

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