Coffee and calories: Are add-ins sabotaging your diet?

By YOU
04 February 2017

Caffeine fiends are being reminded that sweeteners in tea and coffee can significantly increase daily calorie intakes.

A new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has analysed the impact adding sweeteners to coffee and tea has on people’s overall daily calorie intake.

The research looked at 12 years of data, ending in 2012, from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, including information from a nationally representative sample of 13,185 adults who reported drinking coffee and 6,215 adults who reported drinking tea in the day prior to being surveyed.

The figures suggests that more than 51 per cent of American adults drink coffee and nearly 26 per cent drink tea on any given day, with roughly two-thirds of the coffee drinkers and one-third of the tea drinkers putting sugar, cream, flavourings or other calorie-rich additives in their drinks.

"Many people prefer drinking coffee and tea with sugar, cream, half-and-half or honey," said Assistant Professor Ruopeng An. "These add-in items are often dense in energy and fat but low in nutritional value."

Milk products inject a bit of calcium to the diet, but the amount - 22 milligrams per day, on average - is minor, stated An. The daily recommended calcium intake is 1,000 to 1,300 milligrams, depending on one's age and health status.

Black coffee drinkers consume about 69 fewer total calories per day, on average, than those who have sweeteners, cream or other substances in their coffee. Over 60 per cent of those calories come from sugar, with fat accounting for most of the rest of the extra calories consumed.

Tea drinkers are likely to add fewer calorie-dense substances to their tea if they add anything at all, it was reported.

"Compared with adding nothing to one's tea, drinking tea with caloric add-ins increased daily caloric intake by more than 43 calories, on average, with nearly 85 per cent of those added calories coming from sugar," added An.

The daily intakes may appear minute, but the additional calories every day can contribute to extra pounds.

"Our findings indicate that a lot of coffee and tea drinkers regularly use caloric add-ins to improve the flavour of their beverages, but possibly without fully realising or taking into consideration its caloric and nutritional implications," he explained.

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