Excessive sugar consumption has long been associated with various health issues, such as tooth decay, obesity, and heart disease. However, a recent study has questioned whether adding sugar to coffee or tea has the same detrimental effects on health. Analyzing data from the Copenhagen Male Study, researchers found no increased risk of all-cause mortality, diabetes, or deaths attributed to cancer or heart disease in men who added sugar to their beverages.
The Copenhagen Male Study, which began in the 1970s, aimed to gain insights into the health of Danish men aged 40 to 59. The study involved assessing their heart and lung health, as well as their lifestyle choices. The participants were asked about their coffee and tea consumption, including whether they added sugar to these beverages. The researchers analyzed data from 2,923 men who met the study’s criteria and reported drinking coffee or tea.
The researchers discovered that there was no significant association between adding sugar to coffee and tea and all-cause mortality. The rates of death were similar between the group that added sugar and the group that didn’t. Similarly, there was no statistically significant difference in the rates of heart disease deaths and type 2 diabetes between the two groups. However, it’s important to note that the study did not consider the amount of sugar added to the beverages and assumed it was a small quantity. Therefore, the results may not be applicable to those who consume large amounts of added sugar.
Experts who were not involved in the research have commented on the study’s findings. Dr. Sarah Stombaugh, a family medicine physician, stated that the study did not find a correlation between adding sugar to coffee or tea and an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, or type 2 diabetes. She suggested that adding small amounts of sugar to the diet may not pose serious risks. However, she emphasized that commercially prepared drinks often contain much more sugar than homemade beverages.
Registered dietitian nutritionist Kelsey Costa also pointed out the importance of considering the sugar content in homemade tea and coffee, which is usually lower than in commercially prepared drinks. She mentioned that the study focused on traditional tea and filtered black coffee, excluding the health impacts of sweeter drink variants. Costa also raised concerns about the study’s reliance on self-reported data and the assumption of stable sugar intake over time.
While this study provides valuable insights, it’s crucial to be mindful of added sugar in food and beverages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend limiting added sugar intake and being aware of hidden sugars in various consumables. It is generally best to avoid added sugar, but if someone wants to satisfy their sweet tooth, opting for fruits can provide nutritional benefits not associated with sugary drinks or snacks.