Stop drinking tea, coffee before and after meals, ICMR issues advisory; Know why

New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has advised people to exercise restraint in the consumption of tea and coffee, two of the favorite beverages deeply rooted in Indian culture.

The medical body recently introduced 17 new dietary guidelines in partnership with the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), aiming to encourage healthy eating habits across India. These guidelines emphasize the importance of a balanced diet and an active lifestyle.

Recognizing their cultural significance, medical experts have also warned against the excessive consumption of tea and coffee due to potential health concerns. ICMR researchers reported that tea and coffee “contain caffeine, which stimulates the central nervous system and promotes physical dependence.”

The guidelines also highlight the caffeine content of popular drinks, noting that a 150 ml cup of brewed coffee contains 80–120 mg of caffeine, instant coffee contains 50–65 mg, and tea contains 30–65 mg.

ICMR recommends consuming only 300 mg of caffeine every day. The medical body also advised avoiding tea or coffee for at least an hour before and after eating food, as these beverages contain tannins, which can reduce iron absorption in the body.

Tannins bind to iron in the stomach, making it harder for the body to absorb iron properly. This can lead to health conditions like iron deficiency and anemia. Additionally, consuming too much coffee can cause high blood pressure and heart-related problems.