Tea, aside from water and milk, is one of the oldest drinks in the world and has one of the strongest historical effects on cultures and societies as people know it. It is one of the most popular drinks in today’s world as well, with countless different ways to brew the tea and endless leaves to choose from.
For tea enthusiasts, there is no shortage of ways to try a new cup of tea. However, you may come to realize that frequent tea consumption leaves you feeling unsatisfied and hungry. If you are drinking tea as a way to stay away from other foods, this can be an unwelcome side effect.
Tea is not necessarily a food, and most people don’t think of it as being any different than water or milk in terms of nutritional content, so it can be somewhat baffling as to why your tea is making you feel as if you could eat a full course meal.
The reasons for this, though, may not be as confusing as you would expect. In fact, hunger after drinking tea is a well-known and well-documented effect of tea, and it has been researched heavily by scientists and tea enthusiasts alike.
No matter what you try, be it green tea or black tea, or even having tea after you eat a full meal to try and avoid this, unless you are careful in what you drink, you are going to experience that hunger.
The best way to avoid these kinds of things from happening is to understand them. To understand why tea makes you hungry, you first have to think about what tea has in it to cause such an effect.
1 – Tea and Caffeine
Tea is known for having caffeine in it, and it is often drank specifically for that reason, as plenty of people need a little bit of energy in the morning and middle of the day. This part of tea is often the downfall of those who are trying to drink tea for weight loss though, as it is what causes the hunger that most people feel.
To put it short, caffeine expends your body’s energy because it is a stimulant. Your body has expended energy, so it is going to want to replenish that energy, and the best way for your body to do that is to eat.
This is why your brain will then tell the rest of your body that you are hungry, as you have used up the energy your body has and it needs to refill its tank, so to speak.
To go into more detail, caffeine is a stimulant, and stimulants work in different ways on your body. It can help you feel more energized, but it also boosts your metabolism, which will work on digesting what food you have in your system.
With your stomach and intestines empty, your body may begin sending signals to the rest of you saying that you are hungry and that you should eat something.
On top of this, people who don’t respond well to caffeine may become stressed, anxious, and nervous. A lot of people will eat as a self-comfort mechanism to this kind of stress, and this can come across as “hunger” to someone who may not be aware of their tendencies.
You have to be mindful of exactly how much caffeine you are consuming with your tea.
Caffeine is also known as being an appetite suppressant. Depending on how much tea you drank and how fast your body absorbs caffeine and makes use of it, you may find that you aren’t hungry for a period of time just after you had the tea, meaning that you do not eat for a while, even if you normally would.
Once that time has passed, though, you will feel abnormally hungry because you may have skipped a meal or snack, leading you to overindulgence. It is important to stick to your regular meal schedule, even if you aren’t hungry, to avoid effects like this.
2 – Tea and Blood Sugar
Caffeine will also affect your blood sugar levels. Even if you are not diabetic, this is something that you should be mindful of, especially if you are working with weight loss and trying to eat healthy.
Caffeine will stimulate the production of insulin, which is a hormone that will, to put it simply, decrease the amount of blood sugar you have as it processes and makes use of it (to bring you that energy).
With decreased blood sugar, your body will begin telling your brain that you are hungry and you need to replenish that decrease in blood sugar. This process can feel more intense when the blood sugar levels drop quickly, such as when you ingest a high amount of caffeine.
This will lead to an eventual craving for sweets and foods that have a fair amount of sugar in them, as your brain recognizes that it should replenish that lost sugar. This feeling will also come across as being more hungry.
3 – Tea and Heat
Finally, most people enjoy a warm brew of tea. There are many benefits to it, including a stronger taste, smell, and feeling. This, however, will contribute to you feeling hungry after you drink tea, as the heat can actually stress your body out and cause it to consume more energy that your body will then need to replenish.
Think about it this way, when you drink hot tea, it will indirectly heat your intestines up. Your natural body temperature is lower than that of a hot brew of tea, and by the transfer of heat, you may raise your temperature slightly above what your body’s normal range is.
This will cause effects of sweating, urination, and wanting to get some (cool) fresh air, as your brain is telling your body to find ways to cool down.
This expends your body’s energy and resources in a number of ways. Sweating and urination are ways your body loses hydration and electrolytes, and there are many people who interpret thirst as hunger.
You may also expend energy over stress and movement to get that fresh air your body is asking for, which can contribute to feeling hungry.
Making Tea More Filling
There aren’t really ways to make your tea more of a substantial drink in terms of making you feel less hungry, as the effects of tea cause your body to expend energy, rather than simply induce a sensation of hunger.
There are molecular processes inside your body that are happening because of the tea you drank, and the only way to really neutralize it is to cancel those processes out.
With the main problematic factor being the caffeine in the tea, one way to make tea feel more “filling” is to consider reducing the caffeine content. There are decaffeinated teas and low-caffeine teas for people looking for a soothing drink or people who don’t handle caffeine well that you can consider.
Without the caffeine depleting your body’s energy resources, you aren’t going to feel as hungry after drinking tea.
You can also consider having a cold-brew tea, as this will not have the effects of heat that most warm teas will have. By not indulging in the problematic factors that tea brings, you won’t have to worry about expending energy improperly.
Ultimately, what makes you feel hungry after tea is the caffeine, which essentially restarts the motor in your body, and with that motor running, you will deplete your fuel and require more. If you don’t start the motor, you aren’t going to use more fuel than normal, leading to feeling more full after drinking your tea.