MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ruopeng An, PhD
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.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Approximately 51.4% and 25.8% of U.S. adults consumed coffee and tea on any given day, respectively. About 67.5% and 33.4% of coffee and tea consumers drank coffee and tea with caloric add-ins, respectively. Compared to coffee consumption without add-ins, drinking coffee with add-ins was associated with an increase in daily total caloric intake by 69.0 kcal, caloric intake from sugar 41.5 kcal, caloric intake from total fat 23.1 kcal, and caloric intake from saturated fat 12.5 kcal. Compared to tea consumption without add-ins, drinking tea with add-ins was associated with an increase in daily total caloric intake by 43.2 kcal, caloric intake from sugar 36.7 kcal, caloric intake from total fat 3.7 kcal, and caloric intake from saturated fat 2.1 kcal. Certain individual characteristics such as sex, age, and race/ethnicity were associated with use of caloric add-ins among coffee/tea consumers.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides tips in its “Rethink Your Drink” column regarding purchase and consumption at a coffee shop, including “Forgo the extra flavoring—the flavor syrups used in coffee shops, like vanilla or hazelnut, are sugar-sweetened and will add calories to your drink”, “Skip the Whip—The whipped cream on top of coffee drinks adds calories and fat”, “Get back to basics—Order a plain cup of coffee with fat-free milk and artificial sweetener, or drink it black”, “Request that your drink be made with fat-free or low-fat milk instead of whole milk”, and “Order the smallest size available”.7 These recommendations are well aligned with the findings from this study, and could potentially apply to those who prepare their own coffee and tea.
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Consumption of coffee and tea with add-ins in relation to daily energy, sugar, and fat intake in US adults, 2001–2012
An, R. et al.
Public Health , Volume 146 , 1 – 3
January 26, 2017
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