Does Putting Milk In Your Tea Negate Its Health Benefits?

published Oct 1, 2012
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You may choose to drink tea with a little bit of milk to make it taste better, but are you diminishing tea’s health benefits in the process? It turns out that, yes, that may be the case.

Researchers at the Fifth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health say that milk proteins bind with the flavonols in tea, making it more difficult for the body to absorb them and reap the health benefits. Green tea on its own, for example, has been shown to slightly increase metabolism, making it a possible aid to weight loss, but a separate study shows that metabolism is inhibited when milk is added. The same seems to be true for regulating blood pressure: tea on its own seems to help, but the effect is diminished with milk.

But, as is often the case, not everyone agrees. (Aren’t there ever cut-and-dried answers to these things?!) Alan Crozier of the University of Glasgow in Scotland says that the amount of milk added to tea is typically so small that there aren’t enough milk proteins present to seriously interfere with the flavenols.

The Salt’s suggestion? Drink both. “If you prefer black tea with milk and sugar, drink it with breakfast.Then, later in the day, try to add in a cup of green tea — nothing added.”

How do you drink your tea?