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The Impact of Adding Sugar to Coffee and Tea on Your Lifespan

Coffee and Tea

Many of us enjoy a hot cup of coffee and tea, and for some, adding a spoonful of sugar is a ritual. But have you ever wondered how this seemingly harmless practice might impact your lifespan? A recent study conducted on Danish men aimed to unravel the connection between sugar consumption in coffee and tea and various health outcomes, including all-cause mortality, cancer mortality, cardiovascular mortality, and incident diabetes. Fill out this form to see if you or a friend qualify for Continuous Glucose Monitors.

The Sugar Dilemma

The adverse effects of sugar-sweetened beverages, such as fruit juices and sodas, have been extensively studied. These drinks have been associated with various health risks, including dyslipidemia, obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, all-cause mortality, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Your risk rises with consumption.

A Global Sip

Tea and coffee are among the most widely consumed non-alcoholic beverages worldwide. Numerous studies have explored their impact on all-cause mortality. Interestingly, coffee consumption seems to follow a U-shaped curve concerning all-cause mortality. On the other hand, tea consumption is generally associated with a decreased risk of all-cause mortality.

But, what about the sugar added to these beverages? While the amount of sugar in tea and coffee may be smaller than that in sugar-sweetened drinks, its effect on overall mortality hasn’t received much attention.

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The Danish Study

This study focused on a cohort of Danish men aged 40 to 59, established between 1970 and 1971. Initial assessments included cardiorespiratory fitness tests, physical examinations, interviews with physicians, and cardiovascular risk factor questionnaires. The participants were categorized into three socioeconomic classes based on their occupation and education levels.

During the second follow-up between 1985 and 1986, clinical examinations were conducted, including blood pressure measurements, height and weight measurements, and lifestyle questionnaires covering alcohol consumption, smoking habits, and diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Importantly, the questionnaire also inquired about their consumption of tea and coffee, specifically if they added sugar to these beverages.

Participants with pre-existing conditions (diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease) or those who did not consume coffee and tea were excluded from the study. The primary endpoint was all-cause mortality, while secondary endpoints included cardiovascular disease-specific and cancer-specific mortality, as well as incident diabetes.

Tea and Coffee: Results

Surprisingly, the results showed no significant association between adding sugar to tea or coffee and the risk of all-cause mortality, incident diabetes, or mortality related to cardiovascular disease or cancer. Out of the 2,923 participants, 1,007 reported adding sugar to their coffee and tea. Over 32 years of follow-up, there were 1,677 deaths in the non-sugar group and 904 deaths in the sugar group.

Understanding the Findings

While previous research has strongly linked the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality, this study highlights a crucial distinction. On average, the amount of sugar added to a cup of coffee and tea is around 5 grams, whereas sugar-sweetened beverages contain roughly 25 grams per can. This stark contrast in sugar content may explain the lack of a significant association.

Additionally, the study only considered traditional coffee consumption, like filtered black coffee, and did not account for newer coffee types, such as caramel Frappuccinos, which often contain higher amounts of added sugar.

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In summary, this study suggests that adding sugar to your tea or coffee, following traditional methods, may not significantly impact your risk of all-cause mortality, cancer-related mortality, cardiovascular mortality, or the incidence of diabetes.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that individual health choices vary, and moderation is key. While the study didn’t find a substantial link between sugar in coffee and tea and adverse health outcomes, it’s essential to balance your sugar intake with other lifestyle choices, like eating a healthy, balanced diet and engaging in regular exercise.

So, go ahead and savor your morning cup of coffee and tea, but consider the amount of sugar you’re adding, and keep in mind that moderation and a holistic approach to your health are always wise choices. Your lifespan is influenced by a multitude of factors, and it’s up to you to make the best decisions for your well-being.