Enjoy that Java: Really!

By Samantha Mark, RD, CDN

Pouring a cup of coffee is a natural part of our morning routine, or maybe it’s how we perk ourselves up in the office. A recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine analyzed the relationship between coffee and health. And believe it or not, the news was actually good!

The study determined those who drank two to six cups of coffee daily (regular, or decaffeinated) were less likely to die from health ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, infections and injuries and accidents. 

So drinking coffee is okay! But here’s the kicker: How you “fix” your favorite pick-me-up can have an adverse affect on your health, specifically your waistline. So be smart when preparing your java.

How? For starters, avoid excess sugar. If you choose to use regular sugar, try limiting yourself to less than a teaspoon. The American Heart Association recommends no more than about 9 teaspoons of added sugar for men and no more than about 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women each day. If you are someone who prefers coffee on the sweeter side and refuse to reduce the amount of sugar you use, try adding a sugar substitute (all of which are considered safe). Sugar substitutes are free of carbohydrates and calories and tend to be much sweeter than regular sugar.

Also, if you “lighten” your coffee with milk, always go low fat or fat-free to avoid adding excess fat and cholesterol.  Finally, be wary of those flavored syrups that are so popular. They carry added sugar, as well, so use these sparingly, if at all. Many coffee shops carry sugar-free versions of your favorite flavors, which you can use as a substitute, instead. Now enjoy that coffee and hit the ground running!

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