It Could Take 20 Bottles Of Tea To Get Health Benefits Of 1 Home-Brewed Cup

Bottled tea has seen a substantial increase in recent years as more people turn to it as a purportedly healthier alternative to sodas and energy drinks, but a new study claims that if you’re really out to get the health benefits of tea-drinking, you’d be better off brewing it yourself.

According to the study released by the American Chemical Society, bottled tea contains significantly lower levels of polyphenols, the antioxidants in green or black tea, than you’ll find in fresh-brewed tea. In some cases, you would need to consume 20 bottles of the tea to equal the antioxidants in just one cup brewed at home.

Explains one labcoat-wearing type:

Consumers understand very well the concept of the health benefits from drinking tea or consuming other tea products… 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…

Someone would have to drink bottle after bottle of these teas in some cases to receive health benefits. I was surprised at the low polyphenol content. I didn’t expect it to be at such a low level.

Of the six bottled brands tested, half contained “virtually no” antioxidants.

The researchers theorize that one of the reasons for the lower level of polyphenols in bottled teas is, well… a matter of taste:

Polyphenols are bitter and astringent, but to target as many consumers as they can, manufacturers want to keep the bitterness and astringency at a minimum… The simplest way is to add less tea, which makes the tea polyphenol content low, but tastes smoother and sweeter.

Do these findings change the way you look at bottled tea?

Bottled tea beverages may contain fewer polyphenols than brewed tea [ACS.org]