Drinkers looking for more sweetener should avoid drinking coasters and straws and instead drink a few drinks in the cup rather than just one, according to a new study.
The study published in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice looked at how many drinks a person needs to drink daily to maintain a healthy weight.
“We found that if you drink at least 2 cups of beverages per day, you need to drink at or below your BMI, and above that you need at least 4 cups,” said lead author Dr. Stephanie A. Lee, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Health Science Center at Minneapolis.
To calculate the amount of calories required to maintain healthy weight, the researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a survey of nearly 1,000 Americans between ages 18 and 64.
They looked at four drinks per day: coffee, tea, water and a glass of milk.
The average American consumes 1,500 calories a day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
The average drinker will need about 4 cups of sugar to maintain that weight.
But drinking a straw, the study found, may not be enough to help a person lose weight.
“If you don’t drink enough water to maintain your body weight, you’re just drinking water that’s been diluted with your water,” Lee said.
The authors of the study recommend drinking water, tea and coffee with milk instead of a drink.
Lee said the researchers looked at all drinks and concluded that the straws could be more effective than coasters or straws.
“What’s more important, they don’t have to be all-natural and that’s what we’re trying to do,” she said.
Drinking milk instead is more palatable than water, but Lee said that could also affect how many calories you need.
“A lot of people are going to drink milk,” she added.
Lee and her colleagues also compared drinking straws to other beverages, such as a cup of tea, and concluded the straw is a good choice for those who are trying to lose weight and maintain a weight.
Lee said she hopes to see more research on the topic.
Drinking straws isn’t just for weight loss.
They can also help people control cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
“There are many things you can do with a straw that we’re still trying to figure out, like drinking coffee,” she told ABC News.
“It can help you sleep better, it can help with digestion, it’s good for digestion and it can even help with energy levels.”
Dr. Robert Lustig, an expert in diabetes and obesity at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said drinking straw may help people lose weight if they drink only about three cups of coffee a day.
He said it’s possible to lose some weight if you only drink about three drinks a day but added that he would not recommend straws as a weight loss tool.
Lustig, who has written several books about obesity and diabetes, said the studies do not necessarily show straws are healthier.
“People need to weigh up the whole spectrum of what’s possible,” Lustig said.
“I think the studies that have been done, there are a lot of very healthy people who have straws, but they don’ t mean they’re going to be healthier,” he added.