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Why “Real” Tea is Better than Bottled Tea

Fans of natural health food products (and those of us who work at health and nutrition stores) have known this for a long time, but fresh research presented this month at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Boston showed unequivocally that bottled green tea drinks just don’t match the nutritional value of home-brewed organic green tea or black tea. (What's the difference between green tea and black tea?)

The labels on bottled green tea and other “tea drinks” would have you believe otherwise, of course. They entice you with claims of high antioxidants. Unfortunately, a real analysis of their nutritional makeup shows that their antioxidant content is much lower than traditional home-brewed tea.

In fact, some bottled teas contain such small amounts of antioxidants that you’d have to drink 20 bottles to get the same amount provided in just one cup of brewed tea. What those beverages do have is sugar and other artificial sweeteners added in to make the tea taste better.

There’s the crux of the problem. Tea’s natural antioxidants aren’t so sweet tasting, so to hook consumers and get them to buy their product, manufacturers add in the sugar and sweeteners to make the otherwise bitter tasting tea sweet. (There is no such thing as natural sweet tea. Sweet tea is sugar tea.) And along with adding in the sugar, manufacturers also decrease the amount of actual tea... again to boost the flavor.

“Real” tea may not taste better, but it’s certainly better for you. So, if you’re in it for the nutritional and health benefits of tea (which are extensive), the next time you’re shopping a natural health website, buy organic tea – loose leaf or bagged – and brew it yourself.

Source: foodconsumer.org

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