Nanny Bloomberg might have to pry our magnum Mountain Dews from our cold, dead (and pudgy) hands, but it looks like he's probably doing us a favor: recent studies have further substantiated the claim that sugared drinks like soda lead to obesity.

The studies were presented yesterday at an annual obesity conference in San Antonio, TX. One of them had been conducted over the course of several decades and involved over 33,000 Americans, concluding that those with a genetic predisposition to weight gain will have an even greater chance of becoming obese if they drink sugary beverages. Two other studies, which involved children and adolescents, found that swapping out sugared drinks for sugar-free beverages can prevent (or at least slow down) weight gain in those who are still developing. One of those studies, conducted by researchers from Boston Children's Hospital, gave 224 overweight or obese teenagers bottled water and diet drinks for one year, leading to an average annual weight gain of only 3.5 pounds instead of the 7.7 pounds gained by a control group.

The other study, conducted by researchers from the Netherlands, gave children ages four to eleven sugar-sweetened drinks for eighteen months, leading to an average weight gain of 16.2 pounds. Another group of children, also aged four to eleven years, were giving sugar-free drinks; they gained an average of only 13.9 pounds. All three studies presented were the first major experiments linking the reduction of sugary drinks to combat obesity. "I know of no other single food product whose elimination can produce this degree of change," Dr. David Ludwig, who headed the Boston Children's Hospital study, told the Washington Post.

So does this mean we'll be able to halt America's march toward becoming the Land of the Fat and the Home of the Big just by tossing our full-calorie Cokes and swigging sugar-free soda instead? According to researchers, it couldn't hurt, though your cardiologist might disagree. And of course, the non-biased American Beverage Association thinks its totally unfair to keep blaming soda, putting out a statement that, "Obesity is not uniquely caused by any single food or beverage. Studies and opinion pieces that focus solely on sugar-sweetened beverages, or any other single source of calories, do nothing meaningful to help address this serious issue." Because naturally this is the real weapon of choice in taking on obesity.