As the days are getting warmer, the beverage aisles in your friendly neighborhood supermarket are seeing increased foot traffic. One of the presumed healthy choices is iced green tea.
There are green teas, usually made with water, green tea, and a bit of sweetener. Then there are monstrosities such as this:
WATER, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP,CITRIC ACID, SODIUM HEXAMETAPHOSPHATE (TO PROTECT FLAVOR), NATURAL FLAVOR, GREEN TEA, POTASSIUM SORBATE (PRESERVES FRESHNESS), PHOSPHORIC ACID, GUM ARABIC, ASCORBIC ACID (TO PROTECT FLAVOR), PECTIN, GLYCEROL ESTER OF ROSIN, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM,CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (TO PROTECT FLAVOR), SUCRALOSE, YELLOW 5, RED 40
The product? A love child of PepsiCo and Unilever called Lipton Brisk Peach Iced Green Tea.
The seemingly low sugar count (“just” 5 teaspoons, compared to 10 or more for comparably sized products) is due to the inclusion of both sucralose and acesulfame potassium (read about artificial sweeteners here).
There are no peaches here, just “natural flavors” and a host of preservatives. Take EDTA, for example, a preservative used to retain color, currently on the FDA’s list of food additives to be studied for toxicity.
The colors? Derivatives of the petroleum industry. Yellow #5 and Red #40 are banned in parts of Europe because they cause hyperactivity in some children, and may also be carcinogenic.
If all these downers aren’t enough, consider the fact that most of the antioxidants in green tea are long gone by the time you drink it.
Bottom line: Stay away from drinks like this. Opt for simple tea drinks that are either non-sweetened at all, or have a small amount of sugars. Best option – brew your own.