Could simple tap water be the key to a healthier, slimmer lifestyle? A new study researched the dietary habits of more than 18,300 adults in the US and found that the majority of people who increased their consumption of water—either from the tap or from a drinking fountain or bottle—reduced their total daily calorie intake. People who drank more water also consumed less saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.

The study found that people who increased their water intake by between one and three cups per day decreased their total daily calorie intake by between 68 and 205 calories. Sodium consumption dropped by between 78 and 235 grams, sugar consumption by between 5 and 18 grams, and cholesterol consumption by between 7 to 21 grams.

“The impact of plain-water intake on diet was similar across race/ethnicity, education and income levels and body-weight status,” said Ruopeng An, kinesiology and community health professor at the University of Illinois and co-author of the study.

“This finding indicates that it might be sufficient to design and deliver universal nutrition interventions and education campaigns that promote plain-water consumption in replacement of beverages with calories in diverse population subgroups without profound concerns about message and strategy customisation.”

Participants consumed on average around 4.2 cups of plain water daily. A 1% increase in participants’ consumption of plain water was associated with a reduction of daily energy intake to the tune of 8.6 calories.

So there you have it. Forget fad diets and crazy exercise regimes—let simple hydration be your thinspiration.