The study that examined the dietary habits of more than 18,300 US adults found the majority of people who increased their consumption of plain water by 1 percent reduced their total daily calorie intake as well as their consumption of saturated fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.

People who increased their consumption of water by one, two or three cups daily decreased their total energy intake by 68 to 205 calories daily and their sodium intake by 78 to 235 grammes, researchers said.

Participants were asked to recall everything they ate or drank over the course of two days that were three to 10 days apart.

Researchers from the University of Illinois in US calculated the amount of plain water each person consumed as a percentage of their daily dietary water intake from food and beverages combined.

On average, participants consumed about 4.2 cups of plain water on a daily basis, accounting for slightly more than 30 percent of their total dietary water intake.

A small but statistically significant 1 percent increase in participants' daily consumption of plain water - tap water or from a cooler, drinking fountain or bottle was associated with an 8.6-calorie decrease in daily energy intake.

There was also slight reductions in participants' intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and discretionary foods along with their consumption of fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol.

The findings were published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

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