It may be a ritual for many, but scientists say that their cup of tea does not need a spoonful of sugar.
One study found that participants were able to stop it without their enjoyment being affected – suggesting that a long-term behavior change was possible.
Scientists have said that quitting at once or reducing intake gradually have been effective strategies to reduce consumption.
The authors said a larger test was needed to confirm their findings.
A team that included researchers from University College London and the University of Leeds looked at data from more than a month for 64 men who generally drank sugar-sweetened tea.
Participants were also divided into men who stopped at a drastic step, those who gradually reduced the sugar in their tea for four weeks and a control group who continued to drink sweetened tea.
The results suggested that groups that reduced sugar could still enjoy a cup of tea without a spoonful of sweet.
At the end of the study, 42% of those in the phasing group dropped their sugar in tea, as did 36% of those who eliminated it at one time.
Six percent of the men in the control group also gave up on their cup.
The team concluded, "Reducing sugar in tea does not affect taste, suggesting that long-term behavior change is possible."
The researchers added that similar methods could be used to reduce the intake of sugar in other beverages, such as pumpkin.
The results were reviewed by conference officials at the European Congress on Obesity in Glasgow.