By Katie Davis
Most of us have gone through that drive thru window and order our tea of coffee with two milk and two sugars, or what is known at Tim Horton’s as the “double-double” or you may have ran into your favorite coffee shop for a raspberry cheesecake latte to warn up on a cold day or an iced vanilla latter to cool off when it hot. Whatever your drink of choice you are like the more than 160 million people in the US drink coffee or tea on a regular basis. And like you, many of them use sugar, cream, flavored syrups or other calorie-laden additives in their drinks of choice to add favor.
A new analysis reveals just how much we are adding to their caloric intake by spicing up or sweetening their coffee or tea. Research gathered from 12 years of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 19,400 adult (13,185 coffee and 6,215 tea drinkers) suggest that more than 51 percent of U.S. adults drink coffee and nearly 26 percent drink tea on any given day, said University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An, who conducted the study. Roughly two-thirds of the coffee drinkers and one-third of the tea drinkers put sugar, cream, flavorings or other calorie-rich additives in their drinks, he found.
“;Many people prefer drinking coffee and tea with sugar, cream, half-and- half or honey,” Professor An said. “These add-in items are often dense in energy and fat but low in nutritional value.” Though milk products add a bit of calcium to the diet, but the amount on average is negligible and offers no real benefit.
The study showed that those who prefer to drink their coffee black consume about 69 fewer total calories per day, on average, than those who add sweeteners, cream or other substances to their coffee, Professor An found. More than 60 percent of those calories come from sugar, with fat accounting for most of the rest of the extra calories consumed.
Tea drinkers tend to add fewer calorie-dense substances to their tea if they add anything at all, the analysis found.
“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 percent of those added calories coming from sugar,” Professor An said.
Although these numbers seem small, think of the number of these beverages most of us consume in a day without fully realizing these flavor additive in our beverages start to add up to extra pounds. Well not until the warmer weather hits or it is time to head down south and you are trying to fit back into your Summer clothes.