Can You Slim Down and Lose Calories With a Soft Drink?

As proprietors push a calorie-burning beverage, some diet experts are wary.

ByABC News
March 2, 2009, 5:18 PM

March 3, 2009— -- If there is one category of products that could use a healthier image, soft drinks, one could argue, would be it.

The beleaguered, mostly carbonated offerings have suffered various slings and arrows in recent years, ranging from charges they contain too much high fructose corn syrup to studies that back their role in heart disease and other ills.

It's an image that a drink, sold under the brand name Celsius, hopes to shatter. And if the television ad campaign launched this past weekend is to be believed, these drinks go a step beyond zero calories -- they can actually make your body burn calories after you drink them.

Steve Haley, CEO of Celsius Holdings, Inc., said the claims are backed by several clinical studies funded by his company showing that the beverage ramps up the body's metabolism -- allowing those who consume it to stoke their calorie-burning furnaces.

"[Consumers] can replace what they normally enjoy with this," he said. "We're a great replacement for soft drinks, to a point."

The method behind this boost is not magic; rather it's caffeine -- and quite a bit of it. At 200 milligrams of caffeine, a can of Celsius packs nearly twice the amount of caffeine in an eight-ounce cup of coffee.

But Haley pointed out that the calorie-burning power of the drink comes not only from caffeine, but also from other metabolism-boosting ingredients, like the green tea chemical Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), chromium and ginger. In addition, he said, the drink contains vitamins, as well as calcium to counteract the bone-robbing effects of caffeine.

In short, Celsius may be the health food industry's answer to the soft drink in something of the same way that a PowerBar stacks up to a Snickers bar.

"It was our intent all along to create a new category," Haley said. "This is a functional beverage -- a net-negative-calorie drink."