You might be surprised to learn that what we add to our coffee and tea may be adding up when we count our calories for the day. A recent study in the scientific journal, Public Health, found that about two thirds of coffee drinkers and one third of tea drinkers add something to their drinks. For coffee drinkers, sugar or sugar substitutes, cream or cream substitutes, half and half, and whole or reduced fat milk were most often added. Honey and whole or reduced fat milk were most popular as add-ins among tea drinkers.
Altogether the add-ins provided about 69 additional calories a day for coffee drinkers. Tea drinkers added fewer calories to their beverages with an additional 43 calories a day coming from the “add-ins.” The study showed that even though milk or half and half were common “add-ins,” the coffee and tea drinkers only received about 22 milligrams of calcium a day from their beverages. This is a fairly small amount in comparison to the recommended amount of about 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some tips for curbing your calories when you are at the coffee shop. You can order the smallest size available. Forgo the extra flavoring – the flavored syrups used in coffee shops, like vanilla or hazelnut, are sugar-sweetened and will add calories to your drink. Get back to basics and order a plain cup of coffee with fat-free milk and artificial sweetener, or drink it black.