Coffee and tea can never make you fat. Your reducing diet allows you to consume them, if you wish, until you splash when you walk. But note that this sky’s-the-limit attitude applies only to black coffee or clear tea. Drunk in this form, these inspiring infusions rate a flat zero for calories. Add cream and sugar, however, and the calories go Spitfiring heavenward. It’s the fixin’s that make you fat.
One teaspoon of sugar and two tablespoons of coffee cream give a cup of coffee a rating of 85 calories—largely fat calories, exactly the type the reducer needs least. Many a sparkling-eyed and clear-headed coffee drunkard thinks nothing of consuming five or six cups a day. The cream and sugar in these cups of coffee represent about an even trade for the calories where you can eat your pie à la mode. This is a case where you can eat your pie and have your coffee too, if you take it black.
Many of us have our own ideas about black coffee, though, so a compromise is in order. Instead of taking your coffee straight, dilute it fifty-fifty with warm milk. You are entitled to the milk anyhow in your reducing diet, so your calorie total will be unaffected. Make your black coffee a little stronger if the dilution is too weak for your taste. The calcium in the milk may even act as a nerve-pacifier, if you haven’t been getting enough of this vital mineral. The same principle of milk dilution applies to tea.
Sugar in your coffee is like bifocal glasses and gray hair: if you pour in so much sugar that your spoon stands up, people may think you’re growing old. Children have taste buds sensitive to sweets not only in their tongues but in their cheeks and throats. As we grow older these buds diminish and it requires a larger amount of sugar to give us the same sweet sensation. O£ course not everybody knows this, but that catty neighbor across the way may just happen to be in on the secret.
Five or six teaspoons of sugar a day in the same number of cups of coffee gives you a minimum of 100 calories of pure carbohydrate—no protein, no minerals, no vitamins. Excessive pure sugar is almost certain to unbalance the diet. Half a tablet of saccharin will usually sweeten a cup of coffee to satisfy the most sugar-hungry. Saccharin is a drug, to be purchased in a drug store, but except for rare cases of sensitivity it is safe to use in reasonable amounts. Diabetics are steady saccharin customers.
For that matter, coffee and tea are drugs too, in the sense that their particular enlivening element is caffeine. This drug is a definite stimulant to the nervous system and is so used in medicine. It raises the blood pressure, strengthens the heartbeat by slowing it, increases kidney activity and gives that lift which makes tea and coffee desirable to most of us. Unquestionably these beverages can be taken in excess and are capable of undesirable nervous irritation, but that’s a matter between you and your percolator.
In the case of tea, a quarter of lemon or orange is an excellent substitute for sugar. The fruit juice gives a tang to the Tea and bestows a respectable amount of Vitamin C.