Is overboiling milk tea harmful for health? Know possible side effects from experts | Health - Hindustan Times
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Is overboiling milk tea harmful for health? Know possible side effects from experts

By, New Delhi
May 21, 2024 11:00 AM IST

Nutrition experts warn against the dangers of excessively boiling milk tea as it may diminish nutrients, cause acidity, and may produce carcinogens.

Milk tea is a morning staple in almost every Indian household but many of us enjoy multiple cups of it throughout the day to stay active or satiate our sweet cravings at times. New guidelines by ICMR have warned against excessive consumption of milk tea and coffee, saying that tannins in caffeinated beverages can hinder iron absorption in our bodies. Apart from the frequency of having tea, nutrition experts also warn against the dangers of excessively boiling milk tea as it may diminish nutrients, cause acidity, and may produce carcinogens. (Also read: ICMR says avoid milk tea; suggests when to drink tea and coffee, raises concern over excess consumption in new guideline)

A normal cup of tea contains significant amount of health benefits. Over boiling tea does not add extra benefits rather may make the taste of your tea bitter(Freepik)
A normal cup of tea contains significant amount of health benefits. Over boiling tea does not add extra benefits rather may make the taste of your tea bitter(Freepik)

"Tea is one of the most popular beverages consumed worldwide and is growing more popular due to its medicinal benefits and socio-cultural bonding. The major constituents responsible for the health benefits in tea are the polyphenols like catechins, theaflavins, tannins and flavonoids. The impact on the antioxidant properties in tea on addition of milk depends upon varied factors such as the type of tea, amount of milk, preparation method of tea milk infusion," says Nutritionist Priya Palan.

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"Milk tea when heated beyond the optimal temperature, can lead to several undesirable outcomes, affecting both the flavor profile and nutritional composition of the beverage. The delicate balance of flavours in milk tea can be easily disrupted by overboiling as the tea leaves can release bitter compounds, overpowering the natural sweetness and aroma of the drink. Additionally, the milk can develop a burnt taste, further diminishing the quality of the brew. As a result, what was intended to be a delightful indulgence may turn into a disappointing concoction with a harsh, unpalatable taste," says Suhani Seth Agarwal, HOD, Dietetics, Yatharth Super Specialty Hospitals.

The right duration to boil the tea

"As per research data available one can get more polyphenols if you allow leaves more time to steep, however it also suggests that most of the extract occurs in first 5 minutes. Keeping them for too long may oxidize the properties of the beverage. Adding of milk to tea does not significantly change the antioxidant availability of tea however more research data is needed. A normal cup of tea contains significant amount of health benefits. Over boiling tea does not add extra benefits rather may make the taste of your tea bitter," says Palan.

"There are no standards in regard to milk tea production and the quality of product may vary as per changes in formulation and processing conditions. The combination of polyphenols in the tea infusion and milk proteins will affect the taste and quality of milk tea. If the tea leaves are steeped for enough time, the liquid becomes just as concentrated with tea compounds as in tea leaves. The higher temperature may diffuse tannin compounds that are responsible for tea’s bitter flavour. Higher water temperature helps to extract compounds out of tea leaves over cold or low temperature water," she adds.

Side effects of over boiling milk tea

G Sushma Clinical Dietician CARE Hospitals Banjar Hills Hyderabad, says over boiling milk tea can lead to several changes that might affect its taste and potentially its health goods

1. Nutrient loss: Dragged boiling can degrade some nutrients in milk like vitamins B12 and C.

2. Taste revision: Overboiling the milk can lead to development of a burnt taste, which can be unwelcome.

3. Harmful composites: High temperatures can spark the Maillard response, where lactose (milk sugar) reacts with proteins in milk, potentially forming dangerous composites if consumed in large quantities over time.

4. Changes in tea composites: Boiling tea for too long can break down salutary composites like catechins and polyphenols, reducing the antioxidant parcels of the tea.

5. Implicit carcinogens: Overheating can produce composites like acrylamide, especially if carbohydrates are present. Acrylamide is an implicit carcinogen, but typical overboiling of milk tea is doubtful to produce significant quantities.

Agarwal shares other side effects of overboiling tea:

6. Digestive discomfort: Overboiling can lead to the denaturation of proteins in milk, altering their structure and potentially making them more difficult to digest.

7. Acidity and pH Changes: Overboiling may alter the pH of the milk tea, making it more acidic. This can exacerbate symptoms such as heartburn or stomach discomfort.

In general, occasional overboiling of milk tea isn't likely to be dangerous, but constantly doing so might reduce its nutritive benefits and potentially introduce undesirable composites. To steer clear of these issues, it's suggested to avoid prolonged boiling of milk tea.

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