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Study: Unsweetened Coffee Associated with Reduced Weight Gain

black coffee

A new study involving more than 100,000 participants found that drinking unsweetened coffee was associated with a reduction in weight gain among adults.

Published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (an Elsevier title), the study found an inverse association between drinking unsweetened coffee, including decaffeinated coffee, and body weight gain over a four-year span.

Participants in three cohort groups experienced an average weight gain of 0.8, 1.2 and 1.7 kilograms (1.7, 2.6 and 3.7 pounds), respectively.

The study associated regular drinking of unsweetened coffee with a reduction of weight gain of approximately 0.12 kilograms (about 0.26 pounds). Meanwhile, the addition of one teaspoon of sugar to any food or beverage among daily drinkers was associated with a moderate weight gain of 0.09 kilograms (0.19 pounds).

The association between sweeteners and weight gain was more apparent among overweight or obese participants, as well as younger participants.

The addition of dairy creamer or non-dairy “whiteners” to daily coffees was not associated with any change in weight, the study found.

latte coffee

The data behind the new study came from the Nurses’ Health Study (48,891 participants), the Nurses’ Health Study II (83,464 participants) and the Health Professional Follow-up Study (22,863 participants).

According to the authors, who are all affiliated with Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the study’s objective was to clarify the associations common coffee additions like sugar sweeteners and creamers might have on body weight outcomes.

“An increase in intake of unsweetened caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee was inversely associated with weight gain,” the authors wrote. “The addition of sugar to coffee counteracted coffee’s benefit for possible weight management. On the other hand, adding cream or coffee whitener were not associated with greater weight gain.”

A major study last year found that drinking coffee, even moderately sweetened coffee, was associated with a reduction in all-cause mortality, meaning coffee drinkers were less likely to have died within the study period.

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