Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bottled tea beverages contain little or no antioxidants

Countless studies over the years about the health benefits of tea -- particularly green tea -- have driven many health-conscious consumers to stock up on all the latest tea beverages that claim to improve health. But a recent study has shown that most commercial bottled tea drinks contain virtually no antioxidants and a whole lot of sugar or artificial sweeteners. "Consumers understand very well the concept of the health benefits from drinking tea or consuming other tea products," explained Shiming Li, Ph.D., an analytical and natural product chemist, concerning the study. "However, there is a huge gap between the perception that tea consumption is healthy and the actual amount of the healthful nutrients -- polyphenols -- found in bottled tea beverages. Our analysis of tea beverages found that the polyphenol content is extremely low." Polyphenols are the unique antioxidants commonly found in freshly-brewed tea that exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-diabetic effects on the body. But after analyzing six different brands of bottled tea beverages, Li and his colleagues discovered that three contained "virtually no" polyphenols, and the others had so little that they provided little benefit. To put this into perspective, an average cup of home-brewed green or black tea contains anywhere from 50 to 150 milligrams of polyphenols. The bottled teas examined, on the other hand, contained as little as three milligrams of polyphenols per bottle. "Someone would have to drink bottle after bottle of these teas in some cases to receive health benefits," emphasized Li. Part of the reason why commercial bottled teas contain so little polyphenols is that these antioxidants are what give tea its bitter flavor. So in order to appeal to the masses, commercial producers often dilute, process and sweeten the tea to make it more appealing to consumers. Sources for this story include: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-08/acs-btb080610.php www.naturalnews.com

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