We’ve all heard the adage that hot drinks are better for cooling you down on a hot day than cold drinks, which for most people always seems counter intuitive. An ice-cold drink on a hot day can feel amazingly refreshing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s doing anything to lower your body temperature. Thankfully, some very clever people have done the research for us to answer the question once and for all, so you no longer have to second guess your summer beverage choice!
What the science says
Studies in the past have shown that cold drinks were more effective at lowering body temperature, however recent research at the University of Ottawa has proven this to be incorrect. The limitations of the old research are that they used a flawed method of measuring body temperature, whereas this new research uses a variety of different methods to give a truly accurate reading.
The researchers had participants perform a series of 75 minute cycles, periodically rehydrating with water at 1.5, 10, 37 and 50 degrees C, measuring the effect of the water on their body temperature. The results were that the hot water had the biggest cooling effect on the body, as the temperature causes a sweat reaction, which cools down your blood and helps to reduce your core temperate. The cold water on the other hand had the opposite effect, and by reducing the amount of sweat produced it actually meant that the body was less efficient at cooling the blood.
Iced or hot coffee?
So this means that hot drinks are better at cooling you down, right? Well, mostly yes. There are some caveats to bear in mind when you’re picking your beverage. Firstly, for the sweat effect to have the maximum effect the sweat needs to be able to evaporate completely, so if you’re exercising hard and sweating profusely, or if it’s an especially humid day, you’re probably best off sticking to room temperature drinks, or at least letting your coffee cool for a bit before drinking it.
Another factor is that the researchers found that ingesting ice, like in a slushy, can help to reduce body temperature before exercise as well. This isn’t actually to do with the cooling effect of the ice, and rather is due to the energy needed for your body to convert the solid ice into liquid. So a nice cold coffee with crushed ice could be a great choice for a pre-workout caffeine hit.
Despite hot drinks being scientifically proven to be better at cooling you down, cold drinks and hot drinks alike both remain popular with coffee fans throughout the summer. That’s why it’s important for you to be able to provide your customers with the option to have their drink at the temperature they like it. Using WMF’s Dynamic Milk system you can automatically prepare both hot and cold milks, with a wide variety of different foam consistencies to give your customers the best of both worlds.
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