Tea is a drink that’s very low in calories, yet rich in polyphenol antioxidants that help to protect cells from damage. If you drink it without sugar or add a natural, low-calorie sweetener, it’s a good substitute for soft drinks. On the other hand, some busy people claim they don’t have time to prepare home-brewed tea, so they grab a bottle of tea from the grocery store and guzzle it down with their chicken salad sandwich and chips – feeling virtuous for drinking something healthy. But is it really? How healthy is tea in bottles?
Home-Brewed Tea vs. Tea in Bottles: Which Has the Antioxidant Edge?
Tea in a bottle may taste good, but it’s no substitute for home-brewed tea in terms of antioxidant power. According to research presented at the latest American Chemical Society meeting, most tea in bottles is disappointingly low in polyphenols, the compounds that give tea its healthy edge in the beverage world.
How low? When a group of researchers looked at polyphenol content of six different bottled teas, they ranged from a high of 81 milligrams to an embarrassingly low 3 milligrams. To compare, home-brewed tea contains around 175 milligrams of polyphenols. With some bottled teas, you’d have to drink almost sixty bottles to get the same benefits as a single cup of home-brewed tea.
Tea in Bottles vs. Home-Brewed Tea: The Sugar Issue
Home-brewed tea wins out in another way, because you control the sugar – or lack of. Too many bottled teas are loaded with sugar and calories. Some are no better than a soft drink in this regard. For example, Sobe Green Tea in a bottle has a whopping 61 grams of sugar. For that amount of “the sweet stuff” you could have a couple of candy bars instead. Of course, you can buy unsweetened tea or tea sweetened with no-calorie sweeteners at some stores, but many are sweetened with artificial sweeteners.
The Alternative to Tea in Bottles
If you’re drinking tea for the health benefits, it’s best to brew it at home – which doesn’t have to be time consuming. Save those glass tea bottles that hold tea that’s low in antioxidants and fill them with home-brewed tea instead. Make a big pitcher every few days and refill the bottles – so you’ll always have one to take to work.
Now that you know tea in bottles is no substitute for home-brewed tea, do-it-yourself. You’ll save money, while improving your health at the same time.
Beverage Daily website. “Research finds low polyphenol levels in bottled teas”