Are Iced Tea Drinks Actually Healthy?

We can find many different varieties of iced tea drinks. From the most common infusions to exotic fruits and their derivatives.
Are Iced Tea Drinks Actually Healthy?

Last update: 29 November, 2018

We live in a multi-cultural society, where there’s always a reason to celebrate. We usually do this by eating and drinking. While it’s great to have a beer, a sugary soda or a bottled iced tea, you shouldn’t actually celebrate the consumption of those things.

From here comes the need to find other, less-caloric, and low-fat or sugarless options… But, you must know that not every product that claims to be those things or mentions one healthy ingredient, is actually the healthier option.

Iced tea

Because of the search for a healthier ‘soda’, you may have doubts about what to order in a restaurant. The options are always the same, including ‘light’ and ‘diet’ options, among others. But we also have tea.

Two jars of iced tea

What is tea?

It’s a mix of leaves, flowers and other tea plants, such as Camellia Sinensis. You can infuse this mix of herbs in hot water for a short time, and then you can drink the water.

You can find tea in bulk or in small paper bags to make the infusion easier.

However, when it’s hot out there, you usually aren’t in the mood for a hot drink; that’s where iced tea comes from. Just pouring the tea in a glass with ice would be enough.

On the other hand, this process is the reason why society has created a drink, without the need to infuse it first and cool it down later.

However, you must pay attention to one important detail: sugar. These products, just like sodas, contain huge amounts of sugar, which don’t benefit your health at all.

In the case of some brands that sell iced tea, the amount of added sugar can reach 20 grams per 100 grams of product.

A person buying bottled iced tea

It’s scary to think that this number equals five sugar cubes! But, don’t forget that these portions are usually a glass with a capacity of around 250 grams. To solve this problem, some brands modify their products, changing sugar for sweeteners.

Added sweeteners

Instead of adding sugar, manufacturers add sweeteners, such as sucralose and acesulfame-k. Sweeteners, just like sugar, create the need for sweet flavors. Every time you consume them, the taste feels softer and you need more to feel like it’s actually really sweet.

Some sweeteners can cause an imbalance in the intestinal flora. All of these substances cause an increase of less beneficial strains of your microbiota. Also, many of them have been linked to diseases, such as type-2 diabetes.

Juices from concentrate

Besides all of the above, it’s also important to mention that iced teas with fruit flavor, contain around 0,1 percent of tea extract, and the flavor comes from the concentrated fruit juice.

The juice concentrate is actually the liquid from a combination of drinking water and fruits that have previously undergone the following process:

  1. The fruits are shredded to release the juice.
  2. Approximately 85-90 percent of the water is removed, keeping the pulp.
  3. Sugar is added to the pulp.
  4. And finally, water is added to obtain the right mix.

Therefore, every iced tea, with fruit juice and sweeteners may have fewer calories, but it’s still really harmful to your health. It also empties your pocket too!

Other healthy tea options

Pick the infusion, tea bag or buy tea in bulk that you like the most, and place it in hot water. When it’s ready, pour it in a glass with ice. Don’t add sugar; it’s time to re-educate your palate! You can also ask for this option in restaurants.

Another option you have is to add pieces of fruits in a bottle of cold water and let it sit. This way, the water will infuse with the sweet taste of the fruits, and you can enjoy the natural flavor.

Finally, you can also find tea bags that are ‘cold infusions’, where the ingredients are different types of tea and fruity aromas.

Take advantage of healthy options. To be sure that they are healthy, read the nutritional labels or pick one of the options from above.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.