I recently learned that drinking milk just before sleeping may not be as healthy as previously thought. "Milk is a meal in itself and consuming it just before turning in may slow down the digestion process and cause gastric problems for some people. It is like having another meal post dinner," noted a Delhi-based weight management expert Anshul Jaibharat. Given this fact, should you rather have milk first thing in morning? Most of us, quickly gulp down a glass full of milk or a cold coffee on our way out before eating anything else. But, is it the right thing to do or should you avoid having milk on an empty stomach? We asked experts to help us understand this better.
(Also Read: Should You Boil Milk Before Drinking)
Milk, the first meal for many
"Milk is a complete meal in itself. Traditionally, most of us are used to starting our day with a glass of milk. Those who are not lactose-intolerant can have a glass of milk in the morning to ensure a supply of essential nutrients right at the start of the day. I don't see any problem in consuming milk on an empty stomach unless you suffer from poor digestion, gastric issues or are lactose intolerant," shared Dr. Rupali Datta, Consultant Nutritionist.
Not an ideal first meal?
"I don't recommend milk as the first thing you should have to start your day. Lemon water or apple cider vinegar are healthier options to kick start your day. You can then add milk in your cereal or have it in combination with something else. In my opinion, if your stomach is empty, you should always start with something light that has a cleansing effect on your system. Chaach or other fermented versions are much easier to digest," noted Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner, Shilpa Arora ND,
"Milk should not ideally be had by everyone on an empty stomach. It depends on what body composition you have. If you are air dominated (Vata) or Kapha dominated (water), never have milk on an empty stomach. Those prone to cough and flu should also not have it the first thing in morning. People with hyper acidic tendency can have cold milk as calcium when mixed with acid turns into salt and relieves acute acidity. Vata composition people can have milk anytime in the day and can benefit a lot by drinking milk with jaggery," shared Yogacharya Anoop, Chaitanya Foundation, Mediyoga,
All in all, different body types react differently to milk. A person prone to food allergies must be extra cautious. Your daily diet should be tailor-made to suit what your body requires. "Listen to your body, you will know if having a certain ingredient on an empty stomach revs up your energy or leaves you with a squeamish, heavy feeling," concluded Dr. Datta.
Over the past few years, I have realized that 'when you eat' is equally important as 'what you eat'. Food combinations and timings can influence your health, nutrient absorption and a lot of other things. Diet planning is a meticulous process that should be based on the effectiveness and alertness of various bodily processes which take place throughout the day. These functions need to be supplied with the right kind of nutrition at the right time.