NIN's formula for tea and coffee: Ideal tea/soffee healthier than Irani chai and Madras coffee
By Syed Akbar Hyderabad: The unique aroma and taste of Irani chai and Madras coffee is sure to lift your mood. But their refreshing taste often comes loaded with undesirable calories and caffeine. And if the National Institute of Nutrition has its way, many people, who are calorie and health conscious, will soon be sipping what could be called NIN's healthy chai and coffee, that almost 30 per cent less in calories. The nutrition body has suggested use of decaffeinated coffee and tea powder to avoid the harmful effects of caffeine, but to derive the benefits of flavonoids and other antioxidant polyphenols. It however, tells people to prefer tea over coffee. The NIN, which chalks out India's nutritional needs, has recommended low calorie tea and coffee containing a little quantity of sugar and toned milk, keeping in view the largely sedentary life of present Indian generation. A cup or 200 ml of NIN's healthy chai gives you just 75 kcal while its recommended coffee contains 110 calories. This is about one-third less than the calories one gets from chai and coffee served in restaurants and hotels, which use whole milk. The calories in tea or coffee can further be brought down by using cow's milk instead of buffalo's milk. The National Institute of Nutrition has come out with revised dietary guidelines for Indians. The detailed dietary guidelines tell people what and what not to eat or drink. It covers every aspect of food ranging from tea and coffee to alcohol, and from fruits and vegetables to fish and mutton. Since the dietary guidelines are prepared keeping in mind the needs of people vis-à-vis their changed food habits, scrupulous adherence will not only keep one physically and mentally strong, but also reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases including hypertension and cardiac problems. "The blood pressure of many Indians has gone up since 1998, when the dietary guidelines were last recommended. Then 12 per cent of men and nine per cent of women in rural areas used to suffer from hypertension. Now 25 per cent of people have high blood pressure. Only 13 per cent of men and 10 per cent of women in urban areas had diabetes in 1998. Today 16 per cent of people in towns and cities are diabetic," said NIN director Dr B Sesikeran. Of course, the preparation of NIN's tea and coffee is no different. What makes it different, however, is the type and quantity of milk and sugar used. While restaurants add more sugar, condensed milk and milk powder to coffee and tea to give them a "thick" look and make them tastier, the NIN's recommended beverage uses a little quantity of toned milk, with no condensed milk or milk powder added to it. The ideal or sample formula for a healthy tea, according to NIN is: 150 ml of potable water, two teaspoon or 15 grams of sugar and 50 ml of toned milk, besides tea leaf or dust as desired. In case of coffee, it recommends 100 ml of potable water, 100 ml of milk and 15 grams of sugar, besides coffee powder. If the recommendation is followed, a 200 ml cup of tea gives 75 kilo calories. In case of a 200 ml cup of coffee the calorie count works out to 110. The aroma, however, remains in tact, and what one misses out is some calories. Using cow's milk will bring down the calories in NIN's healthy tea and coffee to an appreciable level. Cow's milk contains less fat and thus less calories. For instance, a 200 ml cup of cow's milk with 15 grams sugar gives 180 kcal, while buffalo's milk and sugar of the same quantity gives 320 kcal. According to NIN's manual of dietary guidelines, moderation in tea and coffee consumption is advised so that caffeine intake does not exceed the tolerable limits. Tannin is also present in tea and coffee and is known to interfere with iron absorption. Tea and coffee, thus should be avoided at least for one hour before and after meals. "Besides caffeine, tea contains theobromine and theophylline. These are known to relax coronary arteries and thereby promote blood circulation. Tea also contains flavonoids another antioxidant polyphenols, which are known to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stomach cancer. However, as a result of its caffeine content, excess tea consumption is deleterious to health. Decaffeinated coffee and tea are being marketed to obviate the adverse effects of caffeine," the NIN document points out. ======== Box ======== 15 steps to a healthy living ------------------------------ Here is the list of revised dietary guidelines for Indians 1. East nutritionally adequate diet 2. Extra health care to pregnant and lactating women. Additional calorie requirement is 350 kcal; protein requirement: first trimester: 5 grams per day; second trimester: 6.9 g per day; third trimester: 22.7 g per day 3. Exclusive breast feeding strictly up to six months 4. Food supplementation for infants only after six months 5. 600 to 800 mg or calcium per day for children and adolescents 6. Consumption of 300 grams of vegetables per day 7. Percentage of fat in total calories recommended is 20 to 30 8. Range of normal BMI (body mass index) is between 18.5 and 23 9. Regular physical activity 10. Salt intake restricted to only six grams a day 11. Safe and clean foods without pesticide and antibiotics residue 12. Right pre-cooking processes and appropriate cooking methods 13. Drink plenty of water and take beverages in moderation 14. Minimise the use of processed foods rich in salt, sugar and fats 15. Inclusion of micronutrient rich foods in the diets of elderly (above 60 years) people to enable them to be fit and active.