- Starting your with tea and coffee can mask your hunger for a long time
- This causes calorie deficit and lead to overeating later in the day
- Having a healthy breakfast can increase your metabolic rate
Many of us cannot do without our bed tea or coffee. For some, it is the only way to have a bowel movement in morning. But, as it may have been suggested multiple times earlier, starting your day with tea or coffee is not the best thing you can do for your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate to name a few. According to nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar, stimulants like tea or coffee (which have caffeine) and cigarettes jolt the system out of slumber. Having them first thing in the morning can make the body feel stressed or kicked, which we often mistake for feeling awake.
Starting your day with tea or coffee: Why it is not such a great idea
In her book Don't Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight, Diwekar mentions that starting your day with a stimulant like tea, coffee or cigarette makes the body feel stressed because of the increase in heart rate and breathing rate. It responds by hampering fat burning. In the morning, the heart and breathing rates are at its lowest and this is the reflection of a relaxed state of mind and body. To keep the system relaxed, we need to give it real food which is easy on heart, lungs and stomach too.
Risks associated with starting your day with tea or coffee:
1. Increase in blood sugar levels: Stimulants in tea or coffee result in increase in blood sugar levels and provide zero nutrition to the cells that have been starving for the past 9 to 10 hours or more (after dinner the previous night).
2. It can mask your hunger: This may make you go hungry for a long time without realising it. "Going hungry in the morning is a disaster for anybody who dreams of a sexy body," says Diwekar in the book.
3. Overeating: Going hungry for a long period of time creates a huge calorie deficit in the morning and then the body has no other option but to overeat later to make up for the deficit.
4. Slow metabolism: According to the Mumbai-based nutritionist, people who don't feel like eating anything in the morning are victims of a slow metabolic rate and a digestive system which does not function effectively. "Numerous studies have shown how a hearty, healthy breakfast can increase our metabolic rate. With sunrise, the metabolism peaks and the cells demand nutrition. This is the time to eat and eat big" she adds.
We speak to nutritionist Nmami Agarwal about the side effects of starting your day with tea or coffee. She lists the following side effects:
- It can trigger nausea by disrupting the acid-alkaline balance of the body
- Tannin content of tea can impact digestion and lead to bloating or other unpleasant digestive symptoms. "When you consume tea with some food, tannin tends to bind with carb/protein of that food, thereby minimizing this negative effect," she adds.
- Tea and coffee both contain significant amounts of caffeine and consuming caffeine on an empty stomach can lead to heartburn and acid reflux by stimulating the gastric cells to produce more acid.
- A cup of tea/ coffee can also be harmful to your tooth enamel and it can very well lead to a gradual erosion of the protective enamel, leading to brittle teeth. "Caffeine is also a potent dehydrating agent and excess of water loss can lead to muscle cramps, something you might not want to start the day with," Agarwal tells DoctorNDTV.
- Tannins present in tea is that it can reduce the absorption of iron in the body especially when taken on an empty stomach.
- A cup of tea or coffee might seem like a soothing remedy for many but over time it can lead to increased anxiety and restlessness by disturbing your body clock
Healthy ways to start your day instead of tea or coffee
- If you are someone who is not used to eating anything in the morning, you can start with a fruit, suggests Diwekar. After that, within an hour, you can have your usual breakfast options like parantha, poha, muesli, dosa, idli, upma, roti or sabzi. Ideally, the breakfast should be healthy, homemade, served hot, and rich in fibre.
- "Once your cells receive nutrition through food and the blood sugar comes to an optimum level, feel free to have your tea or coffee. The breathing rate, heart rate, etc will still increase, but now your first meal or breakfast will act as buffer," she explains in the book.
- Agarwal recommends that it's a good idea to replace your cuppa tea/coffee with some soaked dry fruits or lukewarm water with some added herbs.
(Rujuta Diwekar is a nutritionist based in Mumbai)
(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.