Ready-to-drink teas can range from healthy to horrible for you. If you’re sipping straight tea without additives — and real tea, meaning it’s brewed from the Camillia sinensis plant — then you’re steeped in polyphenols and phytonutrients. But oftentimes what comes in a bottle or can is not tea at all, or it’s a few drops of tea drowned in fruit juice, lemonade, or straight sugar.
Verdict: “I’m not a huge fan of RTD teas unless they’re unsweetened,” Caspero says. “Brands like AriZona are the worst because they’re packed with sugar. Some claim to be healthier because they use honey or maple syrup instead of cane sugar, but at the end of the day, it’s all just sugar.” You should also avoid teas that contain artificial sweeteners because “they alter your taste buds, and we still don’t know their long-term health effects,” Caspero says. Stick with either unsweetened or a tea with just a dash of a natural sweetener.
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