Commercial Green Tea Drinks
Many green tea drinks, based on the ingredients found on their packaging, contain green tea, water and lots of sugar.
One popular drink I investigated stated that there were 2 servings of the beverage in their 16 oz. can. Many people may not be aware that this is 2 servings and consume the beverage in one sitting. That’s an awful lot of sugar to consume from a drink; 36 g. for the drink I looked at.
The beverage I investigated listed high fructose corn syrup (a cheap, highly processed sweetener), sugar and honey as it’s second, third and fourth ingredients after green tea essence and water.
Sugars have been proven to suppress the immune system.
It is said that 1 tsp. of sugar can suppress the immune system for 30 minutes.
The 36 grams of sugar found in the 16 oz. can I looked at is equivalent to 7 teaspoons of sugar (based on what I said above, that would suppress the immune system for over 3 hours). As sugars are refined carbohydrates, they cause blood glucose levels to spike. This makes you feel energetic as your glucose levels rise, and tired and lethargic as your blood sugars quickly go down.
Also keep in mind that any sugars that are not used up by the muscles will be quickly converted into fat and stored on the body.
Note, also, that green tea contains caffeine, which acts as a stimulant.
All that being said, it’s important to be aware of the ingredients in the foods and beverages you are consuming so that you can make wise decisions on how often to have them. I am in no way promoting these beverages as healthy, but sometimes if you really feel you need to consume one as a ‘treat’ once in a while, please ensure that the majority of your diet includes a well balanced mix of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes; nuts and seeds; healthy fats and oils; good quality proteins and plenty of fresh water and that you incorporate exercise into your lifestyle.
Better alternatives to quench your thirst could include:
· plain water
· if you find plain water ‘boring’, squeeze in some fresh lemon and sprigs of mint to add a little zing
· I like to steep mint or lemon balm leaves in hot water (I do this by boiling water and taking it off the stove, adding my leaves and putting a lid on the pot). After letting this sit for a while, I add it to a jug of water and keep it in the fridge to enjoy throughout the day. If you need a bit of sweetness, add a little honey. (unpasteurized, raw Canadian honey is best as it contains lots of minerals; imported honey is sometimes mixed with lesser quality honey. There are plenty of Canadian, even Ontario sources to choose from, including Dutchman’s Gold)
· Rooibos – very high anti-oxidant tea, similar to green tea and black tea but is 100% caffeine free.
· Raspberry – contains powerful anti-oxidants
· Blueberry – contains potent anti-oxidants, is heart healthy and is said to improve circulation
· Ginkgo – has anti-oxidant properties, and is a circulatory stimulant