Editorial: Coffee and Tea: Drinking Your Way to Obesity

Cup of CoffeeCup of Coffee

The sweetener and creamer in your coffee and tea can sabotage you weight loss plans.

Coffee and Cream

Coffee and Cream

We all like to have a Cup of Joe in the morning and I am not referring to that for that terrible copy of Fox and Friend on CNN.  I am referring to that cup of brown to black perfection that only comes from well-roasted coffee beans.  I consider it the nectar of the gods.  

I have already written articles on coffee and green tea and how they are beneficial for weight loss.  There is plenty of research to back this up and there is not doubt that the research supports drinking 2-3 cups combined a day.  The question is the stuff you add to your cup that makes weight loss unlikely.  

We add lots of stuff to our coffee and tea make them more enjoyable.  We may add milk and cream to buffer the acidity and make it smoother tasting.  We may add caramel, honey, sugar, or chocolate to make it taste better or sweeter.  Heck, I really like the Toll House cookie creamer by one of the creamer companies, until I actually read the increments and nutritional information.  That little bottle has over 30 servings with 35 calories per serving and most of us use more than 1.5-2 serving per cup of coffee.  That is over 50-70 calories added to your cup of coffee.  I know you are now saying it is not that much.  A simple 70 calories per day for one year can lead to 7.3 pounds of weight change in a year.   

A good study entitled Consumption of coffee and tea with add-ins in relation to daily energy, sugar, and fat intake in US adults, 2001–2012 Looked at this very issues[1].  They looked at the coffee and tea habits of a group of subjects of the National health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  Out of a group of 13185 subjects, 6215 people drank coffee and tea within the prior 24 hours and did so regularly.  They found that found that over two-thirds of coffee drinks added caloric additives but only approximately one-third of tea drinks did the same.  Most alarming was the fact that they found that each daily caloric intake from additives that was approximately 74 calories per day.  

The bottom line:  Weight loss and maintenance is all about moderation and maintaining a calorie in and out balance or deficit.  It is very hard to do so when you are drinking sugar in your coffee or tea on a daily basis.  All of these additives are empty calories that I would advise you avoid at all cost.  

[1]An and Shi, “Consumption of Coffee and Tea with Add-Ins in Relation to Daily Energy, Sugar, and Fat Intake in US Adults, 2001–2012.”
An, R., and Y. Shi. “Consumption of Coffee and Tea with Add-Ins in Relation to Daily Energy, Sugar, and Fat Intake in US Adults, 2001–2012.” Public Health. Elsevier BV, May 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2016.12.032
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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