Throw away the lettuce leaves, pack away your gym kit...and sit down with nice cup of tea.Drinking tea can help you lose weight, research suggests. But there is a catch - you need to have it without milk.Scientists have shown that tea contains high levels of compounds that combat the absorption of fat.The compounds, called theaflavins and thearubigins, stopped the pounds from piling on when given to rats on a high-fat diet, Japanese research published in the journal Nutrition this month, found.But proteins in cows' milk neutralise this fat-fighting ability.Dr Devajit Borthakur, of the Tea Research Association in India, told the Sunday Telegraph that the chemistry between the milk proteins and the fat-fighting compounds means that 'we don't get the health benefit from these compounds'.
The finding is bad news for Britons, who add milk to 98 per cent of the 165million cups of tea they make a day.It could also help explain why waistlines are bulging, despite the large amount of tea drunk in the UK.Those who simply can't bear the thought of drinking their tea black should perhaps think more about the type of milk they add.
British research found the health benefits of antioxidants, compounds credited with the ability to stave off a range of illnesses from heart disease to cancer, appears to be reduced by adding milk to tea. Importantly, skimmed milk, which is often thought as the healthiest choice, was the worst offender, the journal Nutrition Research reports.Researcher Dr Lisa Ryan, of Oxford Brookes University, said: 'From a public health perspective, tea is rich in antioxidants and may be an important contributor to an individual's overall antioxidant status.
'The addition of milk, however, may lower the total antioxidant capacity of tea; however this effect is much greater with skimmed milk compared to whole milk.'