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Coffee and tea can easily thwart your diet: Here's how

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Coffee, tea calories

Coffee and tea drinkers may be doing one thing wrong by adding extra calories. What researchers discovered could be thwarting your weight loss efforts.


Most people who drink coffee add a little something that can boost calorie intake. And it's sneaky the way those calories can add up.

Not only that, the add-ins in your coffee or tea are empty when it comes to nutrition.

University of Illinois kinesiology and community health professor Ruopeng An, who conducted the study said in a press release: "Many people prefer drinking coffee and tea with sugar, cream, half-and-half or honey. These add-in items are often dense in energy and fat but low in nutritional value.

How many calories in coffee or tea?

Coffee and tea flavorings or other additions can mean 69 extra calories a day An and his team found. The researchers say the amount of calcium you get from adding milk or cream is "negligible", given the daily RDA of of 1000 to 1300 mg/day.

The calories come mostly from sugar - 60 percen and the rest is fat.

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Tea drinkers add extra calories as often as coffee consumers, but if your do you're getting more calories, mostly from sugar, than you probably need or realized.

"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," An said.

The take home message is to be mindful.

The study that looked at data 12 years of data from 13,185 adults who reported drinking coffee and 6,215 adults who reported drinking tea within a day of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey,found more than half of those participating added extra calories from fat and sugar to the otherwise healthy beverages.

An says it might seem like much, but the sweeteners and flavorings used daily can add up to extra pounds.

Journal Reference:

Science Direct
"Consumption of coffee and tea with add-ins in relation to daily energy, sugar, and fat intake in US adults, 2001–2012"