Fancy a cuppa?

26 Sep 2013

Hypnotherapist, Personal Trainer, Professional Sportsman (retired), Performance Expert

I’ve just been asked on my Facebook page as to whether someone should drink coffee and tea. They take it with skimmed milk and with one sugar.

It is not my place to say whether someone should drink them or not – that’s down to an individual. Instead I’ll discuss what happens when we ingest these drinks. That way, the person asking the question can make an informed decision based on some knowledge, and weight the choices against the perceived benefits that they are looking for.

Caffeine in coffee is a stimulant, as is the caffeine in tea (less caffeine in a cup of tea as it the tea is infused rather than ingested) so it will raise your ‘metabolism’ – although you can become desensitised to it therefore making you need more for the same effect, or needing it to pick you up. Cutting out the caffeine will allow your physiology to revert to its appropriate ‘set point’ with more even ‘energy’ levels throughout the day.

(Caffeine can aid in burning energy. Whether that energy comes from fat depends on the environment in your body at that time. Caffeine is a mild dieuretic, you still retain around 90% of the fluid in a cup of coffee and 95% in a cup of tea).

Skimmed milk has very little fat in it – full fat milk isn’t actually containing much fat at 4%. Fat from animal sources can be considered ‘good’ for you. Don’t fall foul of the rubbish that saturated fat is ‘bad’ for you! Saturated fat being bad for you is NOT supported by science. As long as you are not lactose intolerant the milk will be quite good for you as it is a whole ‘natural’ food. The milk contains carbohydrate in the form of galactose (glucose and lactose) which will release insulin, which will inhibit fat burning slightly. So a minor change if you want fat loss would be to cut the milk, if only to remove the sugar. However the positive benefits will probably outweigh the negative.

The sugar will have your body release more insulin which again inhibits fat burning and sets you up to store excess energy as fat. Cutting the sugar will help you create the environment to allow your body to burn more fat. There are also other issues with sugar releasing insulin which is the increase in feelings of hunger and the (mainly supported) addictive nature of sugar.

These of course are just some quick generalised points to make you think. I wonder, would you ingest what you do if you thought about exactly what you were eating and the effects of those nutrients on your body. Would it help you towards or away from your goals? Just a thought.

So should you drink tea and coffee? It’s up to you. You’re taking in some of your required fluids and bringing nutrients into your body. If those nutrients give you the desired effect then go ahead and drink them. If those nutrients and their effects aren’t desired then water may well be an appropriate alternative.

Personally I enjoy my coffee. And I haven’t even started to discuss the psychological factors involved! I love the taste. In fact, let’s get the espresso on now…


Gary Turner

Gary ‘Smiler’ Turner brings unique skills to talkhealth. He has been World Champion thirteen times in his sports career – he fully understands physical and mental performance, from both the practical and academic standpoints. In his Hypnotherapy practice Gary works with a diverse range of clients who present issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety issues, eating disorders and weight issues, addictions, and a host of illnesses, diseases and physical conditions. Gary takes an evidence-based approach to his work. He is a sought after speaker and delivers workshops, seminars and presentations including having presented at the National Hypnotism Conference. As a Personal Trainer Gary is sought after by professional athletes and those who want to be ‘fit for life’. Gary is skilled with working with medical conditions and disabled. As examples he has taught a Paralympion to be a kickboxer despite being in a wheelchair, a client with neurological damage to his arm to be medal winning grappler, and successfully works with clients with prosthetic limbs. In his role as a Performance Expert Gary works with individuals, teams and businesses to help them achieve optimum performance. He often works with the British Army and has been a Subject Matter Expert on the re-writing of ‘Combat PT’ – the product delivered by Army PTI’s. He has also worked with many British Army sports teams such as the Judo, Boxing, and Kayak teams. Gary has a thirst for knowledge and studies 2-6hrs every day, on such diverse topics as psychology, neuroscience, physiology, nutrition and more. This will help to bring a rounded opinions and advice to talkhealth. Gary’s first book ‘No Worries’, a book to help people remove their anxiety, is now available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. In his personal life Gary enjoys working with his huskies as a team, competing in ultra-marathons, and still trains at his chosen sports.

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