Folks who take their coffee with a little cream and sugar have reason to rejoice, health-wise.
A new study shows that coffee’s potential health benefits persist, even if you add a bit of sugar to your java.
People who drink any amount of unsweetened coffee are 16% to 21% less likely to die early than those who don’t imbibe, based on data drawn from more than 171,000 British participants without known heart disease or cancer.
Coffee with sugar?
And even folks who take their coffee with sugar saw some health benefits, researchers found.
Sweetened coffee drinkers who downed an average 1.5 to 3.5 cups a day were 29% to 31% less likely to die during an average seven-year follow-up than non-coffee drinkers, according to findings published May 31 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
“On average, even when your coffee is a little bit sweetened, it still seems to be potentially beneficial and at least not harmful,” says Dr. Christina Wee, the journal’s deputy editor, who wrote an editorial that accompanied the study.
Don’t rush out to order that caramel macchiato just yet, though — people in the study tended to add modest amounts of sugar to their brew, experts note.
On average, people put about 1 teaspoon of sugar in each cup of coffee, says Wee and Anthony DiMarino, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition.
“This is roughly only 16 extra calories, which is not significant,” says DiMarino, who wasn’t involved with the study. “In contrast, most specialty coffees run hundreds of calories from sugars and fats.”
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How coffee benefits your health
For this study, a team led by Dr. Chen Mao of Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, analyzed dietary data provided by participants in the UK Biobank, a database with health information from a half-million people in the United Kingdom.
Participants were tracked for an average of seven years to see whether coffee drinking affected their