Children and teens who swapped sugary, high-calorie drinks for water shed excess pounds, according to three new studies—two from the United States and one from the Netherlands.

Children who switched beverages cut 235 empty calories from their diet and did not replace them with other foods, reported researchers from Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

“The evidence is now clear that replacing these ‘liquid calories’ with calorie-free beverage alternatives both at home and in schools represents a key strategy to eliminate excess calories and prevent childhood obesity,” lead researcher Claire Wang, MD, said in a statement.

The second U.S. study, from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, encouraged overweight Latino youth to improve their diets. Specifically, the teens were asked to cut their sugar intake by 47 grams a day (equal to one can of soda) and eat more fiber (up to 5 grams daily). Those who did lost an average 10 percent of visceral fat—the most dangerous type of fat, it forms around the organs and the belly.

In Amsterdam, researchers tested 1,108 children ages 12 and 13 in an eight-month program that cut their intake of sugary drinks. The 11-lesson program included biology and physical education. Almost one year after the study, the children continued to cut their consumption of sweet beverages on average by more than 200 ml a day.

Researchers concluded that adolescents can reduce obesity simply by drinking fewer sodas and other sugary drinks—even if they don’t cut back on snacks or increase their physical activity.