Does Chai Tea Make You Fat? | Indian Healthy Eating Blog

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Chai tea is a beverage obsession of many Indians including mine. So when I switched to Healthy Eating, I began to wonder if chai makes you fat. I researched and found a few cool facts. Let me share it with you.

The classic regular chai tea consists of high-fat milk & sugar. 100 ml of whole milk approximately is 62 calories and 1 tbsp. of sugar is approximately 48 calories (USDA), An average cup = 126 calories.  With this mixture and proportion, chai consumed 3-5 times a day will make you fat.

This may make you upset or disappointed being an avid chai lover who wants to control their weight but can’t keep their hands off the irresistible beverage. However, you might be able to just get away with drinking chai and still be able to manage your weight with certain modifications to the recipe. Below are the things you can take into consideration for your next cup of chai.

Factors Contributing To Make You Fat When You Consume Chai

Sugar Usage:

Sugar is the biggest factor contributing to weight gain when it comes to chai consumption. Refined sugar is high in calories while it offers very few nutrients.

One can live a life without ever consuming sugar. So, if you can’t give up chai then you can reduce the amount of sugar intake or adding no sugar at all.

Of course, the charm of tea lies in its sweet and soothing taste which can be credited to the sugar. For that, you can resort to sugar alternatives like stevia or erythritol which can retain the sweet taste without comprising your health.

Balance is the name of the game. If you don’t want to compromise with the sweet taste then reduce the total chai intake and vice-versa. It may seem difficult in the beginning, but with a little conviction and practice you’ll change your habit.

Type Of Milk Used:

Typical Indian chai is usually made with high fat cow’s milk. Scientists have discovered that there is a high level of compounds in tea that can help reduce fat and can cut cholesterol. However, proteins found in cow’s milk neutralize this fat-fighting ability. Source.

Dr. Devajit Borthakur, a scientist at Tea Research Association, in Jorhat, India, said: “When the tea is taken with milk, theaflavins, and thearubigins form complexes with the milk protein, which causes them to precipitate.”

It means that we don’t get the health benefit from these compounds nor from milk protein. Therefore, it could be beneficial to take tea without milk. Source.

That being said there are now lots of delicious alternatives to cow’s milk (Whole milk) in the market. Also, the concept of skimmed milk or 1% milk is relatively new in India but it is quickly catching up with the trend. Skim and 1% milk are produced by removing fat from whole milk.

Apart from these, you can opt for other types of milk available in the market. such as unsweetened Soy Milk, Almond milk, Coconut milk, etc. These are low- calorie substitutes containing a healthy dose of unsaturated fats unlike, saturated ones you find in whole milk.

Amount Of Consumption:

One cup of chai in a day won’t usually make that much difference when it comes to maintaining your weight. But as any chai drinker would openly confess, one cup is just not enough.

“An Indian adult on average drinks 2 cups of chai a day” – that is the size of the market for us, Raghav Verma, founder of Chaayos said.

If you are a chai enthusiast like I am, you will know that 3-4 cups of chai is a normal affair for us. Any kind of break is a deserving candidate for chai 😉  However, this may lead to those extra kilos in your body.

Therefore, being less liberal with the amount of chai you drink in a day would naturally help you to keep your weight in check. If you are someone who works long hours and can’t get enough of that caffeine rush than it is suitable to consume healthier tea options throughout the day like Black tea, Green tea, Earl Grey, etc. while keeping your masala chai amount to 1 cup per day in the morning preferably with zero-calorie sugar alternative and skimmed milk.

The above option may look a little extreme for a chai enthusiast. In that case, instead of doing it every day, you can do it 2-3 times a week. Maintaining your weight is a skill. There is no one size fits all approach to anything. Experiment with different approaches and you will definitely find your fit.


The best thing about the chai that separates it from other beverages is the ability to dip your favorite snack in it and enjoy that scrumptious bittersweet taste. Those snacks would involve nostalgic biscuits or savory bites.

However, if you are feeling adventurous then deep-fried delicacies like Samosa’s, Vada pav, Bhajias, etc is the way to go.

This may feel like heaven but when it comes to weight loss or fat intakes it’s exactly the opposite of paradise. People often consume these snacks with masala chai, as it is a great combination, but it also leads to gaining those excessive calories from deep-fried foods or sweet biscuits.

So, if you want to consume something with a chai, or if you’re obligated to eat mandatory snacks with the chai as a guest it’s better to choose from healthier options like low carb or low-calorie digestive biscuits. Also, keep yourself in check to not go for that extra piece of the deep-fried devil and summon your willpower to resist the temptations.

Should you completely abandon chai for your fat loss journey?

Even though chai is primarily consumed as an instant energy booster in the morning for getting you on your feet and as a scrumptious beverage to satisfy your taste buds, there are some healthier reasons to incorporate it in your life.

Chai consists of flavonoid called catechins that actually boosts your metabolism & help the body break down fats more quickly. Caffeine in the chai also boosts your energy, and in turn, helps burn more calories.

These two compounds working together contributes to your weight loss when you consume chai in controlled amounts.

Furthermore, once you start losing fat chai may also help you maintain it by preventing the metabolism from slowing down

If you are okay with consuming chai in different ways apart from the traditional preparation then it can help you in additional ways and also avoid fat gain. As I said before that sugar and milk are the primary reason why chai is making you fat.

If you can substitute them for better alternatives keeping the consistency of taste then it would be as if you never left the chai and still retain the benefits of not having it.

One good way is to replace sugar and milk with honey and lemon to keep the sweetness intact. Lemon has several health benefits and it has always been a classic taste that would add to the pleasure of having a tasty chai.

More or less, having one chai a day won’t make a huge difference to your weight and you can always cut down on the ingredients to balance it out. So with proper exercise and dietary measures, you might not have to completely sacrifice the chai from your life.

I would rather have a slow and steady progression in fat loss while enjoying my guilty pleasures than letting go of everything tasty this life and world has to offer.

Related Questions:

Is chai tea bad for you?

Chai tea is generally considered safe, although it does contain caffeine and ginger, which may cause negative effects on some people. Of course, everything should be consumed in moderation.

Does drinking chai make you tired?

Drinking chai is less likely to make you tired as it contains a certain amount of caffeine that can disrupt dozing off. However, chai contains a component known as tannin that interacts with caffeine which can give a calming effect on the nervous system but that doesn’t have an impact of you feeling tired rather It can help you get into a focused state

The sugar in the chai can make you tired.

Is There Caffeine in Chai Tea?

Black tea naturally contains caffeine, which means your cup of chai also has it. You can always use decaffeinated tea.

Does chai help with anxiety?

Black tea contains L-theanine which increases GABA, serotonin, and dopamine. They help regulate emotions, mood, concentration, alertness, energy, appetite and sleep. Therefore, chai will help you get to relax and control your anxiety at certain levels.

Kind request

I want to request you to have an open mind and give my program a try. I am not charging any fees for it. I genuinely want you to achieve your goal. At any point, if you face any problem in understanding the program please feel free to email me. I promise I’ll help you in every way to achieve your goal. Wish you the best. Happy Eating!