ICMR Advises Against Milk Tea, Suggests Optimal Times for Tea and Coffee Consumption in New Guidelines

Milk with Tea

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has released new dietary guidelines advising against the consumption of milk tea and specifying optimal times for drinking tea and coffee. This update aims to address growing concerns over the health implications associated with excessive caffeine intake and the habit of consuming milk with tea, which may diminish the drink’s health benefits.

Health Concerns with Milk Tea

Milk tea, a popular beverage across many parts of India, combines black tea with milk and often sugar. While tea itself is rich in antioxidants and has several health benefits, including improved heart health and decreased inflammation, adding milk may negate these advantages. Studies suggest that milk can bind with the flavonoids in tea, inhibiting their antioxidant capacity and thereby reducing the beverage’s overall health benefits. The ICMR guidelines highlight this interaction, recommending that tea be consumed without milk to maximize its positive health impacts.

Milk with Tea

Caffeine Consumption and Its Effects

The guidelines also delve into the broader implications of caffeine consumption through coffee and tea. While moderate caffeine intake can enhance focus and energy levels, excessive consumption has been linked to a variety of health issues, including insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, stomach upset, rapid heartbeat, and muscle tremors. The ICMR’s new guidelines suggest limiting coffee and tea intake to specific times of the day to minimize potential sleep disturbances—ideally, these beverages should not be consumed after 6 PM.

Optimal Times for Consumption

According to the ICMR, the optimal times to consume tea or coffee are mid-morning or early afternoon. These periods align with natural rhythms in human cortisol levels, which caffeine can impact. By consuming caffeine during lower cortisol levels, individuals may experience its benefits more fully without disrupting the body’s natural cycles. Additionally, avoiding caffeine later in the day helps in maintaining the natural sleep cycle, thus promoting better overall health and well-being.

Implications for Public Health

The new guidelines by ICMR reflect a growing awareness of the dietary habits that contribute to long-term health issues. With lifestyle diseases on the rise, such guidelines are critical in shaping public health policies and consumer habits. The advice against milk in tea, along with the optimal consumption times for caffeinated beverages, is expected to influence both individual choices and broader public health initiatives aimed at improving dietary habits across the population.

By addressing these specific aspects of tea and coffee consumption, ICMR aims to reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases associated with poor diet choices and excessive caffeine intake. The guidelines also serve as an educational tool to inform the public about making healthier beverage choices that align with better health outcomes.

Response and Implementation

The reaction to the new guidelines has been mixed. While health enthusiasts and medical professionals have largely supported these changes, they have also sparked debates among those accustomed to traditional ways of consuming these beverages. Implementing these changes at a broad cultural level may require significant public health campaigning and education efforts.

To facilitate the adoption of these new guidelines, the ICMR is planning outreach programs and collaborations with local health departments to disseminate information through various media and community-based approaches. This educational push will emphasize the health benefits of adhering to the recommended practices and aim to gradually shift public perception and habits concerning tea and coffee consumption.


The ICMR’s latest guidelines represent a proactive step towards improving dietary habits and addressing the health impacts of common beverages like tea and coffee. By recommending against milk in tea and advising specific times for caffeine consumption, the guidelines not only aim to enhance individual health but also contribute to the broader goal of reducing lifestyle-related health issues in India. As these guidelines begin to be implemented, their success will largely depend on public reception and the effectiveness of health education campaigns designed to support these changes.