Milk and coffee: What happens when you mix them?

Coffee and milk are a delicious mixture that no one disputes; many of the world’s great coffees are born from these two elements.

For a metabolism that is not intolerant to coffee and milk, there is no harm in drinking either drink if it is consumed in the right measure, i.e. a maximum of three to five cups of coffee a day in the case of coffee.

Remember that the caloric intake of coffee is very low, but not that of milk. If it is not whole milk, what you drink with your coffee can be many calories if you drink three or four coffees a day, and even more if you add sugar to your coffee.

What are the benefits of mixing coffee and milk in the same drink?

Apart from the obvious, which any latte lover would point out, it’s delicious. This drink contains antioxidants, which have very interesting health effects.

It also contains other nutrients, vitamin D, calcium, and protein. Thanks to these components, coffee with milk provide certain health benefits.

Health benefits of coffee with milk

Coffee has antioxidant properties, as well as satiating the appetite and increasing life expectancy. An association has been found between coffee and a decrease in mortality. Coffee may offer some protection against the following:

  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Liver disease, including liver cancer.
  • Heart attack and stroke.
  • Coffee clears our heads and makes us able to concentrate better.

Is it a good idea to mix coffee with milk?

We might think that if they are two elements that do not pose a risk separately, mixing them does not seem to pose a risk in principle.

But the answer to this question is not so easy, as there are several issues to consider:

  • For those lactose intolerant, coffee with milk is not good for them.
  • As well as, those who are very susceptible to caffeine may suffer undesirable effects from coffee, which in any case would not be increased by the consumption of coffee with milk.

Problems with coffee

You should know that coffee can cause nervousness and excitement, even insomnia or intestinal disorders. It is also possible to expect cardiac arrhythmia in people who do not tolerate caffeine well.

Avoiding caffeine in coffee is easy; switch to decaffeinated coffee, and your caffeine intake will drop dramatically.

However, moderate coffee consumption, up to 4 cups daily in a healthy adult, is not a problem.

Is there a possibility of any adverse effects when you mix coffee and milk that would not be present when consuming these foods separately without mixing them?

The answer is that, surprisingly, there is a negative issue not brought by the milk or coffee itself to this coffee with milk but arises from the mixing of the two.

The issue is that when you mix the tannins in the coffee with the casein in the milk, it becomes a more indigestible drink than drinking coffee and milk separately would be.

In a coffee with milk, the tannins promote the coagulation of the milk protein, called casein. Thus, when the milk reaches the stomach, it will turn into small particles (like tiny clots). This can complicate digestion or even slow it down.

In sensitive people, this coagulation can cause feelings of bloating or even heaviness, leading to digestive discomfort. However, these effects will mainly be felt by people who are sensitive or lactose intolerant.

A few things to consider when mixing coffee and milk

Adding milk does not reduce the amount of caffeine in the drink. Therefore, it does not reduce the effects that caffeine has on people who are more intolerant to this element of coffee.

The option is to opt for a decaf that removes caffeine in percentages greater than 99%.

As I have already said, drinking coffee with milk in some people seems to increase intestinal peristalsis and subsequently promote diarrhoea. It has a diuretic effect – the more you drink, the more you feel the urge to urinate.

Is black coffee better or coffee with milk?

The type of coffee we drink is very personal and depends on our tastes. Most coffee drinkers don’t appreciate the taste and aroma of a good cup of coffee, so they add sugar, sweeteners or milk to nuance the flavour.

For those who enjoy the coffee and milk mixture, there is no doubt that it is added for flavour rather than for positive benefits. What is indisputable is the difference in caloric intake from black coffee to coffee with milk

A cup of coffee only has two calories, whereas, in the case of adding milk and a sachet of sugar, we are increasing the calorie intake to approximately 57 calories.

That’s a big difference, especially if you drink three or more daily cups. You go from the six calories of black coffee to the 170-180 calories of three coffees with milk and a sachet of sugar in each coffee.

If you are prone to weight gain, you could benefit from eliminating dairy from your coffee, as you would not even reach ten calories in 4 cups of coffee, while coffee with milk and sugar would be well over 200 calories.

What can you do to avoid the presence of milk in coffee?

Can’t you do without coffee with milk in your daily consumption? But do you have lactose sensitivity or even intolerance? If you are used to drinking coffee with milk, here are some alternatives to drinking coffee without milk.

Consume 100% Arabica coffee, it has less caffeine, which makes the coffee less bitter, and you can consume it perfectly without mixing coffee and milk, and much less coffee and sugar.

You can try replacing your latte with a long coffee brewed with hot water.

To replace the milk, if you are not used to long coffees, you can add cream to the coffee because of the presence of oxygen bubbles in the milk; the latte will have less lactose.

Note that it still contains lactose but in smaller amounts. Some people who are lactose intolerant may be satisfied with this solution.

If cow’s milk is not for you, use plant-based or vegetable milk.

For example, you can use soy, almond, or even rice milk. The latter also is an alternative to cow’s milk, as it helps soothe the irritating effects of coffee. Or enjoy your milk and coffee if you are one of those who tolerate the mixture well.

You may be interested in Café Manchado: what it is and how it is made.