Most people are aware that drinking too many fizzy drinks are bad for you and there has been a huge shift towards sugar-free versions of the regular ones because there is plenty of science that shows too much sugar is bad for you.
Coffee on the other hand as one of the most consumed liquids on the planet has been studied to death and it has been proven that coffee is definitely good for you
So if too much sugar is bad for you and coffee is good for you how do you work out if sugar in coffee is good or bad?
We will show you how to reduce the amount of sugar you put into your coffee and make it taste better as well.
How much sugar is ok?
An adult should restrict free sugar intake to 30g per day which is approximately 9 teaspoons of sugar.
If that makes you think “great, I can have 9 coffees a day” unfortunately that is free sugar intake in total.
It will come as no surprise that if you don’t give careful thought to how much sugar you eat or drink every day then you are going to go over the safe amount that ensures a healthy lifestyle and that can have a significant impact on your health.
Drink just one can of regular coke and that will blow your limit for the whole day just like that.
All sorts of things that we love to eat and drink contain very high levels of sugar and it’s very easy to just munch away and not even be aware of it.
Chocolate is one of the biggest offenders. Who doesn’t love a Mars bar or a Snickers or any one of hundreds of options enticing you on the supermarket shelves?
Anyone like chocolate spread? You are looking at over 50g of sugar per 100g so it’s kind of like spreading your toast or waffle with pure sugar but it’s easy to ignore it because it’s just so damn nice. Chocolate bars tend to be worse. generally over 60g of sugar per 100g.
Ready meals tend to be high in sugar as well because the generally poorer quality of produce is offset by adding more sugar to make it taste better.
Why bother thinking about how much sugar you consume anyway?
Why manage your sugar intake?
Too much sugar makes you gain weight. Much research over many years has shown that people that drink lots of fizzy drinks weigh more than people that don’t and weighing too much carries its own range of health problems.
More chance of heart disease. If too many of the calories you consume are from added sugar food or drinks then you are much more likely to contract an illness related to your heart. This is clearly shown in studies
Diabetes. You definitely do not want to be doing anything that can cause you to become diabetic and consistent overindulgence in sugar over a number of years can cause you to leave your body without enough insulin and you will have to take medication for the rest of your life or worst inject yourself with insulin.
Depression. The highs and lows that that lots of sugar brings are not great for a healthy mind and again studies have shown that the correct balance of sugar intake makes it less likely that you will develop mental health issues such as depression.
Inconsistent energy levels. High levels of sugar intake can give you a “sugar rush” and make you feel good for a short period of time but that is always quickly followed by a low that is worse than the high. To get the best out of yourself you need to maintain a consistent level of energy throughout the day and that is not achieved by short bursts of high sugar intake that actually just leave you feeling tired and irritable.
Why do we add sugar to our coffee anyway?
If you ask most people in the UK how they take their coffee the most typical answer will probably be “milk and two sugars”.
Why do we feel the need to dramatically alter the taste of such a wonderful tasting beverage in the first place?
Mostly it’s because we are starting with a very poor quality product in the first place that tastes terrible and the only way to mask the nasty taste is to add things that we like such as sugar.
Almost everyone will have grown up on instant coffee and quite frankly it’s not good. The supermarkets all fight each other to produce the cheapest and that can only result in one thing when it comes to coffee and that’s a bad tasting drink.
The more you do to whole coffee beans before the coffee goes into your cup the more the flavour is drained and the worse it tastes.
On top of that, there are many different qualities of coffee beans and the frozen coffee granules that you get in a jar of instant are almost always produced from the cheapest coffee beans because there is no point in using good beans because it would increase the price and the flavour gets beaten out of it anyway during the production process.
It’s a bit like buying a £200 bottle of champagne and then adding orange juice to it to make a Bucks Fizz. You just don’t do it because you are killing the flavour. If you want to use champagne for Bucks Fizz you buy the cheap stuff.
How to reduce or remove sugar from your coffee
As we all know, coffee contains caffeine which is great to help your concentration levels during the day but who wants to be kept up at night following a late-night coffee and an injection of caffeine an hour or two before you go to bed?
If you do take sugar with your coffee then if you want to get a good night’s sleep as well then try not to drink coffee after 3 pm. If you are regularly drinking coffee after that time you will be pleasantly surprised by how much of a difference it makes.
By not drinking coffee after 3 pm you will drink less overall and therefore less sugar.
Sugar in coffee shop drinks
If you must insist on paying through the nose for a drink in a coffee shop do not be fooled into thinking that its ok to choose any drink you want and it will not contain any sugar just because sugar is not present in black coffee.
There are a large number of individual drinks that can tip you well over the recommended 30g a day so try and avoid any that have syrup and or whipped cream or leave them for a special treat.
Add less sugar
If you currently take 2 sugars then reduce it to 1 and if you take one then reduce it to ½ of one.
It may taste a little odd at first but when you get used to it the coffee will actually taste better because the natural flavour of the coffee will be more present rather than being masked by the sugar you add but if you are using really bad coffee to start with then it probably won’t help.
Use Cinnamon instead of sugar
If you like cinnamon then you can try using it as an alternative to sugar in your coffee. It is used as a sugar replacement in things like cereals and it works well with coffee.
Although it does contain a very small amount of sugar it is a tiny fraction of the amount of using pure sugar.
Buy better coffee
You will immediately turn drinking coffee into an experience rather than just a habit you go through.
If you have been drinking the same make of instant coffee for a long time and you don’t even think twice before just buying the same one over and over again then, first of all, try another instant coffee that is about twice the price. An unusual one that you may not have heard of before.
You may need to do a little bit of searching on the supermarket shelves because it will probably be hidden either near the bottom or at the top somewhere because supermarkets put the products they want you to buy at eye level keeping the products they don’t make much money on out of sight at first glance.
Just buying better instant coffee once will make you realise that you have probably been drinking crap for the last few years and you’ll get a flavour of what’s possible.
Coffee quickly loses its flavour when it gets ground down from whole coffee beans let alone what happens when it gets freeze-dried so it can be kept in a jar for more than a year.
Once you realise the huge difference in flavour by buying good coffee we suggest moving on to buying coffee beans.
Don’t know what to do with coffee beans? It’s easy. Buy a cheap blade coffee grinder that you can pick up for around £10 and crush those beans just before you brew them in a coffee maker.
You do not need a coffee maker as well but you do not need to spend a lot of money on one. You can get started for as little as £10 or less.
How to make your own coffee at home
We’re not talking about instant coffee, we are talking about buying your own coffee and your own coffee machine.
Get started with a budget of £20. Buy yourself a cafetière and a coffee grinder and you are good to go.
Try and buy the best coffee beans that you can afford because it really does make a difference as does the date that the beans were roasted. Try and get beans that were roasted in the last month if possible and choose premium beans as the flavour difference is significant.
You do have to put a little bit of effort into making a coffee with a cafetière (about 5 minutes) so if that seems like a little bit too much hard work then you could go for a POD coffee machine which combines quality with convenience.
It’s not going to be the same as freshly ground coffee but it’s a much better option compared to instant. Just pop in a pod or capsule, press a button and your coffee is delivered in under a minute. There are three main pod manufacturers to consider – Dolce Gusto, Nespresso and Tassimo. Nespresso have by far the best quality coffee but you will have to pay a bit more for the machine.
Once you have done a bit of a trial with freshly ground coffee in a cafetière and you still want the freshly ground taste but you like a cappuccino or a latte that you can’t get from a cafetière then the ultimate indulgence is a bean to cup coffee machine where you press a button and the machine grinds the coffee beans for you and delivers the coffee straight into the cup, in about 60 seconds. You can even get them with a milk carafe and it will make a cappuccino or latte for you without so much as lifting a finger. A half-decent bean to cup machine will set you back around £300.
If you want to go the whole hog and make your coffee Barista style then you can go for a semi-automatic pump espresso machine. These machines allow you to control all the variables to enable you to recreate the coffee shop experience in your own home. These machines can cost upwards of £1000 but you can also pick one up for less than £150 if you want to test the water first before investing big money.
Whatever option you choose to go for, the coffee is going to taste so good compared to whatever you have been drinking up until now that you will not need anywhere near the amount of sugar you have been using to mask the nasty taste of instant coffee.
If you use some of these tips then you will be able to enjoy your coffee more and use less sugar.