Bottled Tea and Health

Tea is good for you, right? As a matter of fact there are numerous studies out there that have shown that it probably is. But (with apologies to George Orwell) it wouldn’t be too far off the mark to suggest that when it comes to health benefits, some of the teas are more equal than the others.

Take bottled tea, for instance. Or better yet, don’t take it, at least not if you’re trying to maximize the health benefits to be gained from drinking tea. While there’s nothing wrong with drinking bottled tea or even a soda now and then, keep in mind that the quality of the former can vary quite widely among brands.

According to a recent research study, bottled tea is likely to be lacking when it comes to the ingredients that make other types of tea more healthful. According to Shiming Li, an analytical and natural product chemist at WellGen, Inc., a New Jersey biotechnology company, six brands of tea purchased from supermarkets contained negligible amounts of polyphenols, an antioxidant in tea that provides many of its health-giving benefits. The teas that were studied contained anywhere between 3 and 81 milligrams of polyphenols per 16-ounce bottle.

According to Li, who presented his findings at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in August, “Someone would have to drink bottle after bottle of these teas in some cases to receive health benefits,” he said. “I was surprised at the low polyphenol content. I didn’t expect it to be at such a low level.” More about the research on bottled tea here.

Not that this is the first time that anyone has taken a look at bottled tea’s impact on health. At Men’s Health a while back they weighed in on the 20 Worst Drinks in America for 2010 and concluded that Sobe tea was one of them, with an eye-bugging 61 grams of sugar in every 20-ounce bottle.

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