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Researchers have made an amazing discovery that could help people everywhere in the world lose weight. Do you want in on the secret? You may already actually know this, but now it's official: If you stop drinking soda and drink water instead, you'll see those pounds flying off.

Alright, perhaps that was a bit too cynical. But it does seem a little silly to conduct a whole study into what everyone already knows to be true. The research team, led by Deborah F Tate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, did also find that switching to diet soda helps too, which is quite interesting.

The researchers put 318 people who were overweight into three different groups. The first swapped sugary drinks for water. The second went "lite" and drank diet soda. The third group was offered diet advice and then made their own choices about what changes, if any, to implement. The result was, after six months, that the two groups who altered their drink habits lost more weight than the third group, that had just been given weight loss advice.

To look at the figures, 20 percent of the water and diet soda groups lost at least five percent of their weight. The advice-only group had 11 percent losing five percent of their weight. Tate commented: "This is a simple thing you can do consistently each day."This, I think, is almost as important as the fact that sugary drinks have lots of calories. The control group knew that eating healthy and exercising regularly makes people lose weight, but without a concrete task to carry out each day, they had plenty of opportunity to procrastinate.

Quitting soda is one small step that can make a big difference. Enough difference, the researchers said, to improve your health significantly (including curing high blood pressure) if you are overweight.

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