ICMR Warns Against Tea and Coffee Consumption Around Mealtimes

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has released new dietary guidelines advising Indians to avoid consuming tea or coffee an hour before and after meals due to the presence of tannins, which can reduce iron absorption and lead to anaemia. The guidelines, developed in collaboration with the National Institute of Nutrition, promote healthy eating habits and moderation in tea and coffee consumption to prevent iron deficiency and related health problems. This description focuses on the primary topic (new dietary guidelines), main entities (ICMR and National Institute of Nutrition), context (public health in India), significant actions (releasing guidelines), and implications (reducing anaemia and related health problems). The description also provides objective and relevant details that will help an AI generate an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as images related to tea and coffee consumption, iron deficiency, and healthy eating habits.

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ICMR Warns Against Tea and Coffee Consumption Around Mealtimes

ICMR Warns Against Tea and Coffee Consumption Around Mealtimes

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has released new dietary guidelines advising Indians to avoid consuming tea or coffee an hour before and after meals. The recommendation stems from the presence of tannins in these beverages, which can reduce iron absorption and potentially lead to anaemia.

Why this matters: The ICMR's guidelines have significant implications for public health in India, where anaemia is a prevalent issue affecting millions of people. By promoting healthy dietary habits, the guidelines can help reduce the burden of anaemia and related health problems in the country.

As part of a set of 17 dietary guidelines promoting healthier eating habits, the ICMR collaborated with the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) to develop these recommendations. In addition to the caution about tea and coffee consumption, the guidelines also highlight the potential health risks associated with high levels of caffeine.

According to the ICMR, a 150ml cup of brewed coffee contains 80-120mg of caffeine, while instant coffee has 50-65mg. Tea, on the other hand, contains 30-65mg of caffeine per cup. The recommended daily limit for caffeine consumption is set at 300mg.

The primary concern regarding tea and coffee consumption around mealtimes is the presence of tannins. These polyphenolic biomolecules, found in plant foods, can bind to iron in the digestive tract, reducing the amount of iron absorbed by the body. "Higher levels of tannins can lead to iron deficiency and anaemia," the ICMR guidelines state.

Common symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, breathlessness, frequent headaches, weakness, rapid heartbeat, pale skin, craving for ice, and brittle nails or hair loss. While the ICMR does not advise complete avoidance of tea and coffee, it recommends moderation in their consumption to prevent excessive caffeine intake and potential iron deficiency.

The guidelines also note that consuming black tea, or tea without milk, can be beneficial for better blood circulation and may lower the risk of coronary artery disease and stomach cancer. However, high levels of coffee consumption are linked to high blood pressure and abnormalities in heartbeat.

In addition to the recommendations on tea and coffee, the ICMR's dietary guidelines emphasize the importance of consuming less oil, having a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and seafood, avoiding protein supplements, and limiting sugar and salt in food. By following these guidelines, Indians can reduce their risk of iron deficiency, anaemia, and other health problems while promoting overall healthy living.

Key Takeaways

  • ICMR advises avoiding tea/coffee 1 hour before/after meals to prevent iron deficiency.
  • Tannins in tea/coffee reduce iron absorption, potentially leading to anaemia.
  • Recommended daily caffeine limit is 300mg; excessive intake can lead to health issues.
  • ICMR's dietary guidelines emphasize whole grains, fruits, veggies, and lean meats for healthy living.
  • Moderate tea/coffee consumption and avoid excessive caffeine intake to prevent health problems.