(Natural News) Tea is a healthy — and comforting — drink, but adding too much sugar can ruin its health benefits. Researchers from University College London and the University of Leeds recommend tea drinkers to skip the sugar next time: It will not affect their enjoyment of the drink and will help lower the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes.
Sugar and your overall health
Drinking tea with several spoonfuls of sugar might not sound like such a bad thing, but several studies have shown otherwise, with it being associated with cancer and heart disease. In addition, consuming too much sugar can increase the risk of conditions like obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
In the study, researchers found that drinking tea without sugar is beneficial and that long-time tea drinkers can make this change without craving sugar.
Getting participants to cut back on their sugar intake
For the study, the researchers observed 64 men who usually consumed tea with sugar for one month. The participants were separated into three groups.
- The first group was instructed to quit adding sugar in their tea immediately.
- The second group gradually reduced their sugar intake over four weeks.
- The third was a control group that continued to consume tea with sugar.
The findings indicated that both sugar reduction strategies were effective: Some of the tea drinkers were able to enjoy their beverages even without adding sugar. A follow-up conducted a month after the study revealed that 42 percent of those who gradually reduced their sugar intake reported that they no longer drink sweetened tea. Meanwhile, 36 percent of the participants in the group that quit sugar reported that they also stopped adding sugar to their tea. Only six percent of the volunteers in the control group quit drinking tea with sugar.
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The researchers acknowledged that while there are health benefits to cutting down on one’s sugar intake, some of the participants would be unwilling to drink tea without sugar, especially if they have gotten used to consuming a sweeter tea. However, scientists remain hopeful that the same approach can help people lower the amount of sugar they add to various drinks. (Related: Why diabetics should drink more tea and eat more cherries.)
Tips to curb your sugar intake
Drinking unsweetened tea is only one way to cut down your sugar intake. If you want to manage your sugar consumption, follow the tips below.
- Stop filling your fridge with sugary drinks like fruit punch and soda. Choose healthier alternatives like fruit-infused water freshly-squeezed juices.
- Replace desserts with fruit. If you’re craving a strawberry jam-slathered piece of bread, warm up some frozen strawberries and add a bit of cinnamon for a naturally sweet treat.
- Be wary of hidden sources of sugar. Avoid sugar by checking ingredient lists and keeping an eye out for words like brown rice syrup, brown sugar, cane syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, cane sugar fructose, cane syrup, maltose, and molasses. By law, ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. The higher a sweetener is on the list, the more sugar a product contains per bite.
- Foods that contain sugar aren’t always overly sweet. Products like ketchup, salad dressing, spaghetti sauce, soup, and sushi usually contain added sugar.
The researchers involved in the study cautioned that consuming too much sugar is a public health problem that must be addressed immediately, especially since sugary drinks is linked to total intake. Cutting down on sugar added to beverages can help drastically reduce overall use, which can also lower diabetes risk.