Skeptics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientific skepticism. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

There is a popular belief that drinking tea shortly after meal can cause health problems and is also dangerous to anemic people.

Drinking tea just after a meal restricts the body's absorption of iron (Fe) consumed with the meal. [...] Tea or coffee consumed at least one hour after a meal does not interfere with iron absorption

Source: Today's Zaman

7 Things Not To Do After a Meal

Don't Drink Tea
  • Because tea leaves contain a high content of acid. This substance will cause the Protein content in the food we consume to be hardened thus difficult to digest however Japanese Green tea is known as a drink which has many benefits for your health.

Source: Health Time

I just want to know if this claim is true and if it is, exactly what kinds of problems it can cause?

share|improve this question
Actually for various types of anemia (eg. thalassemia) high iron intake is unhealthy. And these types of anemia in developed countries are way more common than iron deficiency anemia. – vartec Mar 28 '12 at 15:31
This belief may be popular in certain parts of the world, but is not in say Japan, where it is common to have tea after a meal. – Kenny LJ Aug 3 '14 at 9:54
up vote 16 down vote accepted

Drinking tea immediately after a meal can inhibit iron absorption from vegetable sources, however it does not inhibit iron absorption from cooked meat.

Source - The effect of tea on iron absorption

The effect of tea on iron absorption was studied in human volunteers. Absorption from solutions of FeCl3 and FeSO4, bread, a meal of rice with potato and onion soup, and uncooked haemoglobin was inhibited whether ascorbic acid was present or not. No inhibition was noted if the haemoglobin was cooked.

The effect on the absorption of non-haem iron was ascribed to the formation of insoluble iron tannate complexes. Drinking tannin-containing beverages such as tea with meals may contribute to the pathogenesis of iron deficiency if the diet consists largely of vegetable foodstuffs.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.