A new study suggests that drinking soda can actually make you gain weight.
The study published in the journal PLOS ONE looks at a group of overweight and obese people who drank four or more servings of soda a day for 12 weeks.
“What we found was that they were less likely to be able to lose weight,” said study co-author Mark Wahlberg, a professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University in Chicago.
“It may be the combination of these two factors that are actually causing weight gain,” he said.
The researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tracked people’s food intake in the past 12 months.
They looked at how much soda each person consumed and whether they were drinking at least three servings a day.
“The results suggest that these people who consumed more soda may be more likely to gain weight and more likely not to lose it,” said Wahlburg.
The average person in the study drank two or more colas a day, which is about one-third of what a regular person would drink.
That’s about the equivalent of six to eight regular sodas, the researchers found.
The results were even more striking for people who were also overweight or obese.
Those who drank three or more sodas a week gained about two pounds and were about three times more likely than those who drank fewer drinks to be overweight or to be obese.
“Our findings suggest that if you are obese and have high body mass index, then it may be possible to lose more weight and maintain your health,” Wahlheim said.
Wahlberg is calling for more research on this topic and says that soda is not the only way to increase weight.
He also says that the drinks may not be the only culprit.
“People are trying to lose muscle mass in a different way and are also trying to gain muscle mass by eating more calories,” he told ABC News.
“I think if we’re going to make this work, we need to understand more about why obesity and exercise are linked,” he added.
The Centers for Diseases Control and Control and the Food and Drug Administration say they have not yet made any changes to the diet of the American public.