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University of Illinois study shows how many calories Americans add to coffee, tea

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MILAN – A new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign analyzed the impact adding sweeteners to coffee and tea have on overall daily caloric intake.

Of the more than 160 million people in the United States who drink coffee or tea on a regular basis, most of them often add sugar, cream, flavored syrups and other additives.

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

Researchers analyzed 12 years of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 13,185 adults who drank coffee and 6,125 adults who drank tea in 24-hours prior to the survey.

Results showed that more than 51 percent of U.S. adults drink coffee and 26 percent drink tea on a regular basis.

People who drank coffee black consumed roughly 69 fewer calories per day than those who used sweeteners, cream or syrups, and more than 60 percent of those calories came from sugar.

Those who drank tea were less likely to add anything to their tea or added less calorie-dense substances.

“Our findings indicate that a lot of coffee and tea drinkers regularly use caloric add-ins to improve the flavor of their beverages, but possibly without fully realizing or taking into consideration its caloric and nutritional implications,” An said.

The study was published in Public Health.