Researchers say avoiding high-calorie drinks may be the key to weight loss

Many individuals with type 2 diabetes know they have to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, but doing so can seem like a daunting challenge at times. There are many different temptations that a person faces throughout the day that can make it extremely difficult to stick to a nutritious diet.

However, new evidence suggests that individuals may not need to make major lifestyle changes to eat right and lose weight. Simply drinking lower-calorie beverages may enable diabetics to lose weight and improve their metabolic health.

A team of researchers from the University of North Carolina reported at the Annual Meeting of the Obesity Society that overweight individuals who replaced high-calorie beverages with water or diet drinks were twice as likely to lose weight, compared to those who were only asked to make general healthy food choices, according to MedPage Today.

Many individuals were able to lose upwards of 5 percent of their body weight. The American Diabetes Association has said that losing this amount of weight may be able to keep individuals with prediabetes from progressing to the full condition.

"Replacing caloric beverages with noncaloric alternatives, without intensive monitoring of other diet and physical activity, resulted in small but significant weight changes that may be substantial if applied at a population level," said lead researcher Deborah Tate, according to the news source.

Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, juices and sports drinks have come under fire in recent years. Health experts say that they are too rich in calories to be consumed on a daily basis. Some have even called for higher taxes on these products and given a large share of the blame for the obesity epidemic to them.