Gary 'Smiler' Turner's Blog

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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Fancy a cuppa?

I’ve just been asked on my Facebook page as to whether someone should drink coffee and tea. They take it with skimmed milk and with one sugar. 

It is not my place to say whether someone should drink them or not – that’s down to an individual. 

Instead I’ll discuss what happens when we ingest these drinks. That way, the person asking the question can make an informed decision based on some knowledge, and weight the choices against the perceived benefits that they are looking for.

Caffeine in coffee is a stimulant, as is the caffeine in tea (less caffeine in a cup of tea as it the tea is infused rather than ingested) so it will raise your 'metabolism' - although you can become desensitised to it therefore making you need more for the same effect, or needing it to pick you up. 

Cutting out the caffeine will allow your physiology to revert to its appropriate 'set point' with more even 'energy' levels throughout the day.

(Caffeine can aid in burning energy. Whether that energy comes from fat depends on the environment in your body at that time. Caffeine is a mild dieuretic, you still retain around 90% of the fluid in a cup of coffee and 95% in a cup of tea).

Skimmed milk has very little fat in it - full fat milk isn't actually containing much fat at 4%. Fat from animal sources can be considered 'good' for you. Don't fall foul of the rubbish that saturated fat is 'bad' for you! It is NOT supported by science. As long as you are not lactose intolerant the milk will be quite good for you as it is a whole 'natural' food. The milk contains carbohydrate in the form of galactose (glucose and lactose) which will release insulin, which will inhibit fat burning slightly. So a minor change if you want fat loss would be to cut the milk, if only to remove the sugar. However the positive benefits will probably outweigh the negative.

The sugar will have your body release more insulin which again inhibits fat burning and sets you up to store excess energy as fat. Cutting the sugar will help you create the environment to allow your body to burn more fat. There are also other issues with sugar releasing insulin which is the increase in feelings of hunger and the (mainly supported) addictive nature of sugar.

So should you drink tea and coffee? It’s up to you. You’re taking in some of your required fluids and bringing nutrients into your body. If those nutrients give you the desired effect then go ahead and drink them. If those nutrients and their effects aren’t desired then water may well be an appropriate alternative.

Personally I enjoy my coffee. I love the taste. In fact, let’s get the espresso on now…

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