“No Thank You” to a Cappuccino? What Italian’s Know….

Italian Dining

Think of anything Italian and thoughts of style, class, structure and elegant eating all come to mind!  The world’s love affair with Italy stems from its history of conquerors, navigators, scientists, poets, designers, artists and fast cars. One thing citizens of the world know for sure,  is not to offend the Italian Family Table.

The Italian meal preparation is a piece of art!  The best daily serving of various foods are honorably pursued at the store, prepared at the stove and properly presented upon serving. For 18 years I have observed, participated and taught the Mediterranean Lifestyle.Their meals are planned, purposeful and plentiful. Vegetables are an adventurous delight and fruit in abundance; every plate accentuated by herbs, fresh bread, olive oil and a sip of wine. The Italian dining is a much sought after desire.

Cappuccino for Breakfast

While the etiquette for eating meals are similar between countries, two common questions that leaves one scratching their head are, “You know how Italians don’t drink cappuccino in the afternoon? Culturally, it almost seems taboo, but I was wondering if you knew any scientific or medical reasoning behind it?”

Yes, there is both a cultural and biochemical response to these questions. What is being addressed goes to the structure of the Daily Italian Meal Preparation.

DAIRY intake at Breakfast is a Cafe Latte or cappuccino, (if they’re lucky enough to have a machine).
DAIRY intake at Lunch; 1-2 oz of cheese.
Dinner may or may not have dairy.

Italians do a very good job in cooking with a purpose or eating with intent. If they have already consumed the food in one of their meals why repeat it. Accept for 4 fruits and 5 vegetables daily which assists in digestion…fiber!

From the adorning of the table you are invited to sit down with friends and family to eat a structured Italian Lunch consisting of: Appetizers (bread, cheese, olives, salami, marinated vegetables), Pasta, Entree` (vegetable’s with meat), Fruit, and Desert.

The biochemical perspective makes the meal seem even more cumbersome for the stomach. After a meal a cappuccino physically seems impossible, as it is made with whipped whole milk. The major nutrients of whole milk consist of:

….making your digestive system and liver work harder to break down fat and distribute more calories in addition to the ones already eaten at lunch.
Since any UNUSED ENERGY (calories) is stored as fat in the body within 24 hours, the stomach may already be saying, “STOP”.
So yes, in addition to an Italian lunch, the extra 23% fat becomes a bigger struggle to digest.

Cafe Macchiato

In conclusion, when in Italy enjoy the food and the drinks, but after lunch consider your choices carefully: Cafe Macchiato (a mini cappuccino), or eat a Salad and have a Cappuccino too. Buon Appetito

Written by:
Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio
DTR Dietitian

All the MORNING FUN for the Italian Lifestyle