Giving up sugary drinks and high-calorie beverages may be one of the secrets to successful weight loss, a recent study suggests.
Researchers from the New Balance Obesity Prevention Centre (NBOPC) at Boston Children's Hospital in the United States studied obese adolescents who regularly consumed sugary beverages.
Those that gave up these types of beverages for a total of a year, gained four pounds fewer than their peers who continued to consume the sugary drinks.
NBOPC director David Ludwig said that these results show a strong correlation between weight gain and high-caloric beverages.
"No other single food product has been shown to change body weight by this amount over a year simply through its reduction," he said in a statement.
The study lasted a total of two years, and included regular check-in visits with participants, motivational calls to parents, and written intervention messages.
Mr Ludwig and his colleague - associate director Cara Ebbeling - also arranged for non-caloric beverages to be delivered to participants.
Having access to these types of drinks is important, Ms Ebbeling said.
"Our findings suggest that both access to non-caloric beverages and clear messages for consumers may be at the heart of behaviour change. Adolescents can make healthful dietary changes with adequate support and understandable messages," she explained.
This study is a useful reminder of the danger of drinking too many high-caloric, sugary beverages.
Soft drinks, milk shakes and even some fruit juices can contain an extremely high amount of sugar, and experts are now referring to these types of drinks as being a source of 'empty calories'.
This phrase means that they are high in calories yet low in nutrition - and therefore seen as problematic for health and weight management.
Nutritionists and medical professionals alike advise people to instead choose options that contain nutritional value.
It is better to 'invest' your calories into a delicious veggie-packed meal, than it is to drain a glass of coke.
However, soft drinks are not the only cause for concern. Most drinks other than water are sweetened these days, and many people like to add liberal amounts of sugar to their coffee and tea.
These are natural, healthy sugars that are incredibly low in calories yet high in flavour, making them the perfect alternative for all of your sugar needs. Add them to hot drinks, baked goods and more!