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Real Life Diet Questions Answered

Angela Dowden
Nutritionist

Posted 04 Oct 07

Why does drinking tea now make me nauseous?

Hi, I am curious to know why, especially when I have an empty stomach, drinking tea (the standard variety, i.e. non herbal) makes me feel incredibly nauseous. I have only noticed it in the last three weeks - since I have been 'dieting'. Is it the tannin and, if so, have you any idea as to why it should make me feel like as if I?m about to throw up?

Our expert says...

Hi.

You are right in the fact that tea contains tannin, but it also contains caffeine and many other substances too. It is likely that when you drank tea on a full stomach, the absorption of these compounds was slowed down by the food in your stomach and any effects were unnoticeable or minimised. However, drinking tea on an empty stomach can emphasis these effects on the body, as these substances will enter your blood stream and produce a reaction much more quickly.

Caffeine can over-stimulate and put stress on the body, for example by raising your blood pressure, and it also causes dehydration. Its stimulating effect on the adrenal glands also affects hormone levels in the body. In addition, caffeine has been linked to some of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, due to its inflammatory effect on the lining of the intestines. So, I am sure you can see that any of these effects could be causing your nausea.

As it is making you feel ill, I would advise you to steer clear of standard tea while dieting and try some of the many herbal and fruit varieties that are on the market. This should avoid any nausea and have a positive health benefit too! Meanwhile, peppermint tea is particularly good if you are feeling sick, as it calms the stomach.