It has long been found that tea contains high levels of antioxidant such as theaflavins and thearubigins which help reduce the amount of fat absorbed by the gut and can also cut cholesterol. Now, researchers at the Tea Research Association in Assam, India, found the compounds also help prevent obesity when given to rats that were on a highfat diet.
The benefits are cancelled out by proteins found in cows' milk, they said. "When tea is taken with milk, theaflavins and thearubigins form complexes with the milk protein, which causes them to precipitate ," Devajit Borthakur, a scientist at the Tea Research Association , said. "Therefore, it is always advised to take tea without milk," he said.
The scientists at the centre are now looking for ways of making the antioxidants less susceptible to being neutralised by milk.