New Delhi: Beware, especially if you want to lose weight - don`t add milk to tea, or you would pile on the pounds.
Scientists have discovered that tea contains high levels of compounds that help reduce the amount of fat but proteins found in cows` milk neutralise this fat-fighting ability.
New research has shown that the compounds, called theaflavins and thearubigins, prevent obesity when given to rats that were also on a high-fat diet.
Researchers now believe this could explain why people in Britain appear not to benefit from the healthy affects of tea despite being among the world`s biggest consumers of the beverage.
Devajit Borthakur, a scientist at the Tea Research Association at Jorhat in the Indian state of Assam, said: "When tea is taken with milk, theaflavins and thearubigins form complexes with the milk protein, which causes them to precipitate."
"It means that we don`t get the health benefit from these compounds nor from milk protein. Therefore, it is always advised to take tea without milk."
A study by scientists in Japan, reveals that extracts from tea leaves inhibit the absorption of fat in the guts of rats being fed high-fat diet.
These rats also had less fat tissue on their bodies and lower fat content in their livers, reports the Journal of Nutrition.
Hiroaki Yajima, a scientist with the Kirin Beverage Company in Japan who carried out the Japanese research, said: "Black tea extracts may prevent diet-induced obesity by inhibiting intestinal lipid absorption."