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Iced green tea with honey and ginseng… sounds innocent enough, right? Green tea and ginseng are both ancient medicinal foods with purported healing properties. However, with 17 grams of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup and honey, this pick is the equivalent of tea-flavored sugar water. Here’s what happens to your body within one hour of drinking AriZona green tea with honey and ginseng.

After 10 Minutes

Seventeen grams of added sugar works out to roughly 4 teaspoons, more than 50 percent of your recommended maximum intake per day! That’s a lot of sugar for a supposedly healthy drink. When the sugar comes in contact with your teeth, it bonds with the bacteria in your mouth, causing acidic buildup. This acid can weaken enamel and lead to plaque that causes cavities.

After 20 Minutes

Once the sugar enters your bloodstream, the pancreas releases insulin, a hormone that allows your cells to absorb glucose for energy or store it as glycogen. Excess carbohydrates go to the liver to be converted and stored as fat. Consistently high levels of insulin can result in insulin resistance, where insulin doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. This can lead to type 2 diabetes and increase your risk for pancreatic cancer.

After 40 Minutes

While all added sweeteners are harmful, concentrated sugars in beverages are some of the worst. Think of elevated glucose like a slow-acting poison, one that affects every organ in your body. Blood sugars that stay elevated can cause long-term problems. In addition to damaging the pancreas, elevated sugar levels can cause kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, and heart attack. Put sweetened beverages in the same category as cakes and cookies: a once-in-a-while treat.

After 60 Minutes

Still feeling unsatisfied after that AriZona iced tea? That’s because tea, while providing 70 calories for one 8-ounce serving, has no fiber, protein, or fat to help you to feel full. If you’re trying to lose or maintain weight, stick with water instead for a calorie-free beverage that’s also sugar-free. Add fresh fruit slices, ginger slices, or cucumber slices to infuse your water for a spa-like indulgence.

Bottled tea also doesn’t have the same antioxidant benefits as a cup of home-brewed tea. After being brewed, watered down, and then processed into cans, there aren’t many antioxidants left by the time you get to it.

The Takeaway

Don’t be misled by the sea foam green can and the healthy-sounding name. AriZona green tea with ginseng and honey is more similar to a can of Coca-Cola than it is to actual green tea. There are much better alternatives to quench your thirst. Looking for an antioxidant pick-me-up? Try home-brewed tea instead. Brands like Tazo and Republic of Tea make flavorful, sugar-free iced versions of your favorite drink.