How Many Calories Do You Add To Your Coffee or Tea?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ruopeng An, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Kinesiology and Community Health College of Applied Health Sciences University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 61820

Dr. Ruopeng An

Ruopeng An, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
College of Applied Health Sciences
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Champaign, IL 61820

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Coffee and tea are among the most widely consumed beverages in U.S. adults.1,2 Unlike other popular beverages including alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages that are typically consumed in isolation, many people prefer drinking coffee and tea with add-ins like sugar or cream. These add-in items are often dense in energy and fat but low in nutritional value. Drinking coffee and tea with add-ins on a regular basis might impact an individual’s daily energy/nutrient intake and diet quality.3 The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests that “coffee, tea, and flavored waters also can be selected, but calories from cream, added sugars, and other additions should be accounted for within the eating pattern.”4

To our knowledge, no study has been conducted to assess consumption of coffee and tea with add-ins in relation to daily energy and nutrient intake at the population level. Bouchard et al. examined the association between coffee and tea consumption with add-ins and body weight status rather than energy/nutrient intake, and consumption was measured by a few frequency-related questions instead of a 24-hour dietary recall.5

The purpose of this study was to examine consumption of coffee and tea with add-ins (e.g., sugar, cream) in relation to energy, sugar, and fat intake among U.S. adults 18 years of age and above. Data came from 2001-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), comprising a nationally-representative (biennially) repeated cross-sectional sample of 13,185 and 6,215 adults who reported coffee and tea consumption in in-person 24-hour dietary recalls, respectively.

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Calorie Posting Reduced Adolescent Sugary Drink Purchases

Sara N. Bleich, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Health Policy and Management Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Baltimore, MD 21205  MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sara N. Bleich, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Department of Health Policy and Management
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Baltimore, MD 21205

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Bleich: Providing easily understandable calorie information — particularly in the form of miles of walking — makes adolescents more likely to buy a beverage with fewer calories, a healthier beverage or a smaller size beverage. Adolescents were also more likely to not buy any drink at all after seeing the signs with calorie information.
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Restaurants Continue To Reduce Calories in Menu Items

Sara N. Bleich, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Health Policy and Management Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Baltimore, MD 21205  MedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation
Sara N. Bleich, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Health Policy and Management
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Baltimore, MD 21205

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Bleich: Large chain restaurants appear to be voluntarily reducing the calories in their newly introduced menu items which contain an average of 60 fewer calories than items only on the menu in the prior year. This decline is primarily driven by new lower calorie salads and sandwiches.
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Action Packed Shows May Make You Eat More

Aner Tal, PhD Food and Brand Lab Department of Applied Economics and Management Cornell University, Ithaca, New YorkMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Aner Tal, PhD
Food and Brand Lab
Department of Applied Economics and Management
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Tal: Some TV programs might lead people to eat twice as much as other programs.

“We find that if you’re watching an action movie while snacking your mouth will see more action too!” says Aner Tal, Ph.D. lead author on the new article just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Internal Medicine. “In other words, the more distracting the program is the more you will eat.” In the study 94 undergraduates snacked on M&Ms, cookies, carrots and grapes while watching 20 minutes of television programming. A third of the participants watched a segment of the action movie The Island, a third watched a segment from the talk show, the Charlie Rose Show, and a third watched the same segment from The Island without sound. “People who were watching The Island ate almost twice as many snacks – 98% more than those watching the talk show!” says co-author Brian Wansink, author of Slim by Design (forthcoming) and Professor and Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. “Even those watching “The Island” without sound ate 36% more.” People watching the more distracting content also consumed more calories, with 354 calories consumed by those watching The Island (314 calories with no sound) compared to 215 calories consumed by those watching the Charlie Rose Show. “More stimulating programs that are fast paced, include many camera cuts, really draw you in and distract you from what you are eating. They can make you eat more because you’re paying less attention to how much you are putting in your mouth,” explains Tal. Because of this, programs that engage viewers more might wind up being worse for their diets.
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Low-Calorie Menu Categories Reduce Calorie Posting Benefits

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jeffrey R. Parker
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Robinson College of Business – Georgia State University

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Mr. Parker: Recently, there has been quite a bit of debate about the effectiveness of providing dish-specific calorie information (a practice called “calorie posting”) on restaurant menus in terms of the healthiness of consumers’ food choices. Some results suggest that such labels lead to lower-calorie choices, while other research shows that there is no effect. We examined one factor that might impact the effectiveness of calorie posting: the practice of grouping low-calorie options on a menu and labeling this category accordingly (i.e., incorporating a low-calorie menu/category in the menu)—which we call “calorie organizing”—as opposed to simply allowing them to appear in their natural categories with the caloric content appearing in the dish descriptions (e.g., Sandwiches, Salads, Pastas, etc.).

On the surface it seems obvious that making low-calorie options easier to find—by giving them their own labeled category on the menu—would bolster the positive effects of calorie posting. However, we found the opposite: additionally calorie organizing an already calorie-posted menu regularly eliminates the benefits that calorie posting can have.

We argued and found evidence indicating that the underlying cause of this effect stems from how consumers make decisions. Restaurant menus are often too large for a consumer to seriously consider all of the dishes. Some consumers typically eliminate large portions of the menu on the basis of simple criteria (e.g., “I don’t like seafood.”, “It’s too early to eat pasta.”, etc. ). Since consumers generally make negative inferences about low-calorie dishes (e.g., “They don’t taste good.”, “They are small dishes.”, etc.) they are likely to summarily dismiss all of the low-calorie options early in the decision process when the menu is calorie-organized (i.e., has grouped the low-calorie dished and labeled the new category accordingly). Thus, they are likely to choose as poorly as they would were they given no calorie information. In contrast, when the menu is just calorie-posted, and the low-calorie dishes appear in their natural categories, these dishes are unlikely to be dismissed in the early choice-simplification stages. Thus, low-calorie dishes are likely to be seriously considered in the final decision process, during which the pros and cons of dishes can be more comprehensively traded off, and are therefore more likely to be chosen.
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Calorie Intake Goes Up As Cereal Flake Size Goes Down

Barbara J. Rolls, PhD Department of Nutritional Sciences The Pennsylvania State University, 226 Henderson Building University Park, PA 16802-6501MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Barbara J. Rolls, PhD
Department of Nutritional Sciences
The Pennsylvania State University, 226 Henderson Building
University Park, PA 16802-6501

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Rolls:  We found that as we reduced the flake size of a breakfast cereal so that it filled a smaller volume, individuals ate a greater weight and more calories of the cereal. On four occasions, we served a popular wheat flake cereal, or the same weight of cereal crushed to 80%, 60%, or 40% of its volume, to 41 adults for breakfast. As the flake size was reduced, people made reductions in the volume of cereal they poured, but they still took a greater amount of weight and calories. They ended up eating 72 more calories at breakfast when they ate the cereal with the smallest flake size, an increase of 34%. These findings show that variations in food volume due to the size of individual food pieces affect the portion of food that people take, which in turn affects how much they eat.

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