Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bottled Tea vs. Fresh Brewed

The RTD (ready-to-drink) tea market is going through the roof.  Sales keep increasing.  This is good news for the tea industry, and it introduces people to tea, which is always a good thing.  The only problem is that many of the drinks are high in sugar and low in beneficial antioxidants.  The industry is being helped by all the information on the health benefits of tea, green tea in particular.  The average consumer is buying the bottled tea drink thinking they are doing something good for them, and are really only getting a drink that may be as healthy as drinking soda.  The healthy antioxidant, or polyphenols are present in bottled tea drinks, but at half to 100 times less than the levels of freshly brewed tea.  If you are drinking a decaffeinated version of a bottled tea it is even lower.  To decaffeinate tea in general, the caffeine and many of the antioxidants are stripped out, then the antioxidants are put back.  The studies of the lack of polyphenols in bottled tea are from as early as 2000, when the USDA said that bottled tea had very low levels of polyphenols.  Linus Pauling Institute did a study in 2005 that also showed low levels of polyphenols.   The latest study done in August of 2010 showed the same results. "The six teas... analyzed contained 81, 43, 40, 13, 4, and 3 milligrams of polyphenols per 16-ounce bottle. One average cup of home-brewed green or black tea, which costs only a few cents, contains 50-150 milligrams of polyphenols".  The labels say that green tea is antioxidant rich, but don't actually say the tea contained in the bottle is, so what they say isn't untrue, but it is certainly misleading. If you are going to buy bottled tea, stick to an unsweetened one, but better yet make your own at home.  You will be saving money & getting lots more antioxidants in your cup.  Take a moment in your day to make a cup of tea and sit & siptea...

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