Iced green tea with ginseng and honey… sounds innocent enough, right?
Green tea and ginseng are both ancient medicinal plants with purported healing properties. However, with 17 grams of sugar in the form of high fructose corn syrup and honey, AriZona Tea’s popular version is the equivalent of tea-flavored sugar water.
Here’s what happens to your body within one hour of drinking AriZona green tea with ginseng and honey.
Seventeen grams of added sugar works out to roughly 4 teaspoons, more than 40 percent of your recommended maximum intake per day! That’s a lot of sugar for a supposedly healthy drink.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), men should not have more than the equivalent of 9 teaspoons of added sugar each day. Women should not have more than 6 teaspoons.
The process of digestion is started immediately after consumption of food or drinks. Within the first 10 minutes, your body uses different enzymes and gut bacteria to break down foods and start the process of providing fuel for the cells.
The amount of consumed sugar affects how the body absorbs and utilizes this energy. It also affects satiety signaling. High fructose corn syrup, which is glucose and high fructose combined, absorbs rapidly in the stomach within the first 10 minutes and the individual molecules are broken apart.
When the fructose is separated from glucose, glucose enters your bloodstream and fructose is metabolized in the liver. 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. Glucose is primarily stored in fat cells, and fructose gets stored in the liver. Too much of either can be taxing on the body.
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.
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 the following conditions:
Put sweetened beverages in the same category as cakes and cookies: a once-in-a-while treat.
Still feeling unsatisfied after that AriZona iced tea? That’s because the tea, while providing 70 calories for one 8-ounce serving, has no fiber, protein, or fat to help you to feel full. Therefore, you’ll likely experience a dip in energy, and may feel hungrier sooner. This can lead to overeating and cravings due to the spike then drop in blood sugar.
If you’re trying to lose or maintain weight, stick with water instead for a calorie-free beverage that’s also sugar-free. For a spa-like indulgence, infuse your water by adding the following:
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.
Don’t be misled by the seafoam 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 such as Tazo and The Republic of Tea make flavorful, sugar-free iced versions of your favorite drink.