MILK and tea are not necessarily a healthy combination.

Both beverages are good sources of nutrients and antioxidants, but studies show that mixing them result in a number of negative effects.

True enough, tea has anti-diabetic properties and improves cardiovascular health. But when milk is added, its anti-diabetic properties and antioxidant potential are reduced.

A team of researchers in Charite Hospital at the University of Berlin in Germany said milk also eliminates protective effects of tea against cardiovascular diseases.

The researchers also discovered that milk proteins called caseins reduce the efficiency of the tea compound called catechin, which protects the heart from diseases.

Bernadette Platon, a clinical dietitian at the UST Hospital, said casein is a protein from carbohydrates usually present in commercial products like low-fat, full cream, and instant milk. But whey milk is a more preferable protein source.

According to her, whey protein is better because of its abundant source of amino acids that helps reduce risks of heart diseases, cancer, and even diabetes.

A 2002 study of Richard Anderson and Marilyn Polansky of Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in United States, meanwhile, found out that adding 50 grams of milk per cup of tea decreases insulin activity by 90 percent. Insulin activity is an action of a substance where the blood glucose (sugar) level in humans is lowered. When tea’s insulin activity is reduced, the body’s protection against diabetes also decreases.

As for the tea’s antioxidant potentials, a review paper by Carmen Cabrera of the University of Granada in Spain said drinking milk with tea decreases its antioxidant potential, “depending upon milk fat content, milk volume added, and the method used to assess this parameter.”

Architecture dean re-elected nat’l org head

Platon said, “we should not only look at the antioxidant property of milk tea, but also the total component of the beverage.”

She said antioxidants are easily destroyed upon exposure to different substances. The proportion of milk, tea, sugar, and other food add-ons (like tapioca, coffee jelly, nata de coco, and pearl) should also be considered, because these factors may also decrease the number of antioxidants in tea.

“The way of preparing the milk tea may also affect in the deterioration of the antioxidants present,” she added.

Focusing on the health benefits of tea alone, Platon said that tea is rich in tannin, an antioxidant that helps in regulating electrolytes to maintain normal cell and organ function and to prevent risks of dehydration. But too much tannin results in electrolyte imbalance, which is dangerous to the health.

Platon added that even though milk is a good source of calcium, its calcium content lessens when coffee or tea is added.

“[Drinking] milk tea is good for people who are up-building (gaining weight), because milk tea is calorically dense. Adding milk to tea also enhances the flavor and improves tolerance,” she said. Hedrix Ar-ar C. Caballe and Giuliani Renz G. Paas


  1. “Unhealthy”?

    The title makes it sound like milk tea is bad for you health. From my understanding, the rest of the article, however, states that milk tea is not as beneficial as milk or tea alone but not “unhealthy”.

    Decreasing the benefit of one component does not necessary make the output bad, it just makes it ‘less’…

    The only truly negative point here is this: “But too much tannin results in electrolyte imbalance, which is dangerous to the health.” But (unless i missed out on some parts) i don’t think I read anything here that says milk tea has too much tannin.

  2. Juan Santos, the stores selling milk teas are claiming that Milk Tea has a wide range of HEALTHY benefits. We assumed that since milk is healthy and tea also gives some therapeutic benefits, we assumed that MILK TEA is also healthy to drink. The authors put the word UNHEALTHY in their article NOT TO SAY THAT IT IS BAD FOR THE HEALTH but because of the FACT that when milk is added with tea, the antioxidants which are the primary health boosters of both milk and tea are deteriorated because of the additives the sellers are putting in your drink. Can you say that Milk Tea is healthy when there is really no health benefit in it? Do we drink Milk Tea for the sake of health? Or just for following what is “uso” or just for quenching or thirst and for the love for sweet taste?


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.