Cans of soda are displayed in a case at Kwik Stops Liquor in San Diego, Feb. 13, 2014. Reuters

Decreasing the amount of sugar in your diet may have more of an effect on your body’s health than what was previously thought. Sugar, according to a new study, can lead to diabetes and heart disease in children, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

Researchers in California replaced sugar in the diet of 43 obese children with starchy foods, such as pizza and potato chips. While those foods are not typically associated with health benefits, the change in the diet of the children at the University of California, San Francisco obesity clinic actually improved some aspects of their health, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The cholesterol levels, lipid levels and the liver function in the children improved, according to the researchers, when the added sugar in their diets went from 28 percent to 10 percent. The study obviously singles out sugar and keeps in line with the belief of Robert Lustig, lead author of the study and an endocrinologist, that sugar intake plays a big role in obesity, not just calorie intake.

Some researchers said that because the study didn’t have a control group of children, the changes in the health of the children studied can’t be fully linked to a reduction in sugar intake. Director of the Boston-based New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center David Ludwig told the Journal that other aspects of the childrens’ lifestyle could have changed, causing a change in their health. Some in the food industry have disagreed with Lustig’s conclusions on sugar.

“The broad conclusions and policy recommendations in this study only serve to further the author’s policy agenda without a sufficient scientific foundation,” Leon Bruner, chief science officer for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, said to the Wall Street Journal.

The study fuels the debate over how certain foods affect the health and wellness of consumers around the world. The World Health Organization announced Monday that processed foods such as bacon and sausage can cause cancer, according to the Washington Post.