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The #1 Worst Coffee Habit for Weight Loss, Says Dietitian

Don't worry—you can still have your cup of java.

Anyone who tells you that coffee is unhealthy for you probably doesn't know all of the facts. Coffee by itself can actually be categorized as an excellent addition to your diet. Not only does it help with preventing disease and managing weight, but sipping on a cup of java every morning can even lead to a longer life. No really—it's true.

Nevertheless, it's important to note that not every cup of coffee is made equal. It all depends on what's going in your cup—and how much of it as well.

In particular, the amount of added sugars you are putting in your cup of coffee can have a negative effect on your overall health—and should be something to be aware of. Especially if you've set a few weight loss goals for yourself.

"Adding sugar is by far the worst coffee habit if you're wanting to lose weight," says Courtney D'Angelo, MS, RD, author at GoWellness. "This includes any type of unhealthy creamer that has added sugars or artificial flavoring."

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According to a 2019 review published by the Polish Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciencesit's been proven that a reduction of sugar consumption is linked to a slowing increase in obesity. At the moment, the average American consumes more than 300% of their daily recommended amount of added sugar, which the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends being 25 grams a day for women and 37.5 grams a day for men.

What is that in relation to how much sugar you can consume, especially when it comes to your coffee? D'Angelo says "to maintain healthy body weight and prevent disease, men should only intake 9 teaspoons of sugar and women 6 teaspoons of sugar per day."

The review did state that while some sugars are essential for life (like the kinds you would get in complex carbohydrates, like fruits and whole grains) Americans are still overconsuming the sugar and, for the sake of their health, should try to find ways to reduce their consumption. Coffee is a great place to start.

"If you're drinking 2 to 3 cups of coffee every day and you're adding artificial sweeteners or sugar, you're putting your health at risk as well as your body weight," says D'Angelo.

To put this into perspective, a generic coffee creamer may have around 5 grams of added sugars in just one tablespoon, which is 10% of your daily value—or 20% of the AHA recommendations. Plus, with numerous sugary drinks being sold at well-known coffee chains (did you know some Starbucks frappuccinos can have the same amount of sugar as seven Krispy Kreme donuts?), it's incredibly easy to go over your sugar limits for the day—and to sabotage your health and your weight management in the process.

We're firm believers in a healthy, wholesome, balanced diet—so if you want to enjoy a cup of sugary coffee once in a blue moon, get the drink you really want and just enjoy it. But doing this on a regular basis can absolutely have a long-term effect on your health. Especially when it comes to your weight.

For even more coffee tips, read these next:

Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, with a main focus on food coverage, nutrition, and recipe development. Read more
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