Do you take your tea with sugar – or with lead? Green tea is often considered the “sacred” green, antioxidant-rich beverage of the health world, as well as the healthy alternative to coffee. New studies, however, have found that some green tea products- brewed, bottled, and supplements- contain some unwanted ingredients.
Researchers from ConsumerLab.com released a report this week that looked at 26 types of green tea products, ranging from bottled beverages, to hot beverages, to supplements.
They found that bottled drinks, like Snapple’s Diet Green Tea and Honest Tea’s Green Tea With Honey, were the most deceiving to people wishing to gain benefits of green tea. There were almost no antioxidants present in bottles of Snapple. There were some antioxidants present in Honest Tea, but 60 percent less than the amount claimed on the label (as well as a caffeine count equivalent to two-thirds of a cup of coffee, and a heavy dose of sugar, which equaled to be about half a can of soda).
What’s worse than that is the presence of some very nasty substances in tea bags. The study also found that some bagged teas grown in China contained traces (1.25- 2.5 micrograms) of lead in Lipton and Bigelow teabags. This was presumably because of high levels of pollution in China, which ends up in the soil and is taken up in the growth of the tea plant. One safe tea to buy? The popular tea chain and brand Teavana, which uses loose tea grown in Japan.; its green tea didn’t have any measurable amounts of lead.
Thankfully, the tea bag holds onto the leaf, as well as the lead. ConsumerLab’s president told The New York Times “If you're brewing it with a tea bag, the tea bag is very effectively filtering out most of the lead by keeping those tea leaves inside the bag. So it’s fine as long as you’re not eating the leaves." What a relief.