Encouraging children and teens to drink water instead of sugary beverages is associated with an average 235-calorie decrease each day.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City found that every 8-oz. sugary beverage consumed corresponds to an additional 106 calories per day—and kids don’t compensate by eating less.

“Our results also indicate that replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water is associated with a significant decrease in total energy intake,” notes lead researcher Y. Claire Wang, MD, an assistant professor of health policy and management.

The study, published in this month’s issue of Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, suggests that reducing consumption of sugary beverages could lower America’s pediatric obesity statistics—but only if these drinks are replaced with water instead of milk or juice, the authors note.

For your organic bookshelf: Little Sugar Addicts: End the Mood Swings, Meltdowns, Tantrums and Low Self-Esteem in Your Child Today