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Adding sugar to tea and coffee may not be bad for your  health, new research claims


  • Government advice in 2015 recommended limiting sugar intake to 30g a day
  • A new study suggests adding sugar to tea and coffee is not a major health risk 

Adding sugar to tea or coffee may not have a negative impact on our overall health, researchers have claimed.

Diet advice drawn up by the Government in 2015 urged adults to limit sugar intake to 30g a day – or about seven teaspoons – to protect dental health and help tackle the rising tide of diabetes and obesity-related illnesses. The NHS also suggests reducing the sugar in tea or coffee ‘until you can cut it out altogether’ or to use artificial sweeteners instead.

But a new study has found no association between sweetening the beverages and a heightened risk of diabetes and early death.

Dutch, Danish and British scientists analysed data from the Copenhagen Male Study – which has tracked and tested men since the 1970s. It was unclear how much sugar the men in the study added to their hot drinks but, overall, those who admitted to adding it to their tea or coffee were no more likely to develop health issues than those who claimed not to.

Diet advice drawn up by the Government in 2015 urged adults to limit sugar intake to 30g a day – or about seven teaspoons – to protect dental health and help tackle the rising tide of diabetes and obesity-related illnesses

Diet advice drawn up by the Government in 2015 urged adults to limit sugar intake to 30g a day – or about seven teaspoons – to protect dental health and help tackle the rising tide of diabetes and obesity-related illnesses

Weight-loss expert Dr Sarah Stombaugh said: ‘This [research] demonstrates that adding small amounts of sugar to our diet can be done without serious risk'

Weight-loss expert Dr Sarah Stombaugh said: ‘This [research] demonstrates that adding small amounts of sugar to our diet can be done without serious risk’

‘There was no statistically significant association between the use of sugar in tea and coffee and all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, cancer mortality or diabetes,’ wrote the authors.

Despite this finding, a recent major analysis concluded that high sugar consumption is ‘more harmful than beneficial for health, especially in cardiometabolic disease’ – these include heart attacks, stroke and diabetes. The analysis of 73 large-scale studies and more than 8,600 scientific articles found significant harmful associations between sugar consumption, metabolic disorders and heart problems.

High sugar consumption –which included sweetened drinks – was also linked to increased weight.

‘Reducing the consumption of added sugars to less than six teaspoons per day and limiting sugar-sweetened beverages to less than one serving per week are recommended to reduce the adverse effect of sugars,’ they said in the British Medical Journal.

Commenting on these contrasting findings to Medical News Today, weight-loss expert Dr Sarah Stombaugh said: ‘This [research] demonstrates that adding small amounts of sugar to our diet can be done without serious risk.

‘At home, you are likely to add less sugar than is found in the flavoured coffee at a cafe.’



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