Here’s an overview of the popular bottled green tea brands:
The Trendy Alternative…
In recent years, tea has become more and more popular in Western countries.
It’s always been there but before…the vision of two old grannies having their cup of tea with a little cookie on the side popped up in your mind whereas NOW the young and successful all want to be seen with their cup of tea, whether sipping Starbucks green tea latte, brewing a fresh cup of loose green tea or drinking a bottle of (iced) green tea!
That’s all good….
….If you’re looking for health benefits from green tea, however, you’d better avoid bottled green tea! Why?
Loss of Green Tea Antioxidants
Although the taste is great according to many consumers, it’s not doing much for you health wise.
Hey, don’t be so surprised!
responsible for the health benefits of green tea.
These are hardly found in bottled green tea, if at all.
Moreover, any traces of catechins that might’ve provided health benefits, are leveled out by the high sugar content, whether artificial or natural sugar.
According to the US Department of Agriculture you would need to drink 10 cups of Lipton Diet Green Tea to consume as many catechins as you’d find in a 6-ounce cup of tea brewed from loose leaves.
In 2010, Dr. Shiming Li and Dr. Chi-Tang Ho, who presented their research at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, measured the level of polyphenols of six commercial bottled teas. Half of them contained virtually no antioxidants whereas the rest carried only little health benefits due to the high sugar content.
A third study by researchers from the Oregon State University found that some bottled teas contain 10 to 100 times less polyphenols and antioxidants than conventionally brewed (green or white) teas. Some of the antioxidant or polyphenol activity could be allocated to the fruit additives rather than to the green or white tea.
High in added sweeteners and other artificial ingredients
If you check the back of a bottled green tea you probably find a long list of added sweeteners and other artificial ingredients, such as…
- Acids: citric acid (flavoring and preservative), phosphoric acid (acidify drink) and ascorbic acid (preserve quality)
- Sweeteners: aspartame, acesulfame potassium, sucralose or high fructose corn syrup
- Food additives: sodium hexametaphosphate (improve quality and stability)
- Preservatives: calcium disodium edta (protect flavor), potassium sorbate (preserve freshness) or sodium benzoate (preserve freshness)
- Synthetic colors: caramel color, yellow 5 and blue 1.
Although a diet version does not contain fructose corn syrup (sweetener found in the regular version), it’s basically no different from a regular soda!
Instead of working on your health, all these additives and sweeteners counteract any of the health benefits green tea has to offer.
To name just a FEW of the artificial ingredients side effects: citric acid may erode tooth enamel when consumed excessively; phosphoric acid may lower bone density and cause chronic kidney disease or kidney stones; sodium hexametaphosphate may cause skin, eye and respiratory tract irritation.
Aspartame, the “King of the Artificial Junk” may cause headaches, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, loss of taste, memory loss, and joint pain.
Better to stick with good old (loose) green tea, boosting your metabolism the natural way, without all of these side effects AND….best of all: ZERO calories!
The Alternative Solution
Read the labels in your search for a healthy alternative. Some organic bottled green teas do contain antioxidants and no artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Better yet, brew your own fresh green tea or make iced tea: zero calories, zero artificial ingredients! Check out iced tea recipes here.
Rod Dashwood. Oregon State University News Release (2005). Health Issues Uncertain As Tea Sales Boom. http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ncs/newsarch/2005/Oct05/teaprotection.htm.