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Updated 08 February 2017

Milk and sugar add many calories to your coffee and tea

Most of the calories in coffee and tea come from what's added, researchers say.

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Before you pour anything into your coffee cup besides coffee, heed the findings of a new study that shows a lot of extra calories come with that cream and sugar.

Calorie-rich additives

"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 realizing or taking into consideration its caloric and nutritional implications," said study author Ruopeng An. He is a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois.

Dr Ingrid van Heerden, Health24's former DietDoc, is of the opinion that counting kcal or kJ can be a most effective method of weight control. 

In the study, the researchers analysed more than a decade of data on nearly 13,200 adults who reported recently drinking coffee and just over 6,200 adults who reported drinking tea.

About two-thirds of coffee drinkers and one-third of the tea drinkers put sugar, cream, flavourings or other calorie-rich additives in their drinks, the study found.

The price of sugar

That choice comes with a price: Compared with those who drink their coffee black, those who add sweeteners, cream and other substances consume an average of about 69 more calories a day. More than 60 percent of those extra calories come from sugar, and fat accounted for most of the rest, the study authors said.

Compared with those who drink their tea black, those who add sweeteners, cream and other substances consume an average of 43 more calories a day. Sugar accounts for nearly 85 percent of those added calories, the researchers found.

While the daily intake of extra calories may seem small, it can add up to extra pounds, An noted in a university news release.

More than 51 percent of American adults drink coffee and nearly 26 percent drink tea on any given day, according to the study.

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