Should You Add Milk to Coffee? Nutritionist on Its Effect on Health

Written by Camilla Jessen

Feb.28 - 2024 2:08 PM CET

A nutritionist reveals how adding milk to your coffee can influence its health benefits, from antioxidant content to calorie count.

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For many, the day doesn't start without a cup of coffee. It's an essential part of many morning routines. Yet, the debate on whether to add milk to coffee can be more significant than just taste preference, suggests nutritionist Olha Dorosh.

The Creamy Debate

Dorosh points out that a vast majority, about 67%, of coffee aficionados prefer their brew with a splash of milk or cream, turning the bitter beverage into a smoother, creamier delight.

Both milk and coffee offer benefits to those who digest them well, with milk providing essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, and coffee being a rich source of antioxidants.

"Parents especially find this beverage crucial for kick-starting their day, enhancing mood, and boosting brain function," Dorosh comments.

Contrary to some beliefs, milk doesn't dilute the effects of caffeine. However, the discussion around milk's impact on coffee's health properties is ongoing.

While some research suggests milk may reduce coffee's antioxidant capacity, other studies show that milk doesn't compromise, and may even enhance, the anti-inflammatory benefits of coffee's polyphenols.

Calorie Considerations

Dorosh also reminds us that milk adds calories to your cup. An Americano has just 9 calories, compared to the 90-100 calories in a latte.

Coffee on an Empty Stomach?

The question of whether coffee with milk affects the absorption of calcium and iron on an empty stomach remains open, as Dorosh finds no conclusive research. Nonetheless, for those dealing with iron deficiencies or anemia, it's best to wait at least an hour after eating before enjoying a cup.

Dorosh encourages a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and berries for their polyphenols.

Plus, she notes, adding milk to coffee is one way to help meet daily calcium needs, making your morning ritual both pleasurable and potentially beneficial.

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