Southern sweet tea is more than just a beverage, it is a way of life for some people. It is iconic to Southern life and is a culinary tradition passed down through generations. The oldest sweet tea recipes date back to the late-1800s and were featured in cookbooks back in the day. There is now a mix of black tea, sugar, water and ice which is loaded with calories and sugar that is leading to a high obesity epidemic in the south. Before ordering a glass, be sure to look at what you’re drinking to see if it is healthy for you.
Just the Facts
Many little-known facts are out there about sweet tea but it warrants a closer look. A 12-ounce glass of sweet tea is mostly water and carbs with no fat, protein, or fiber. Southern sweet tea has 41 milligrams of caffeine per glass. A regular 12-ounce can of soda has around 150 calories and 70 milligrams of caffeine. It may not be as damaging to the body as soda but healthier options are definitely out there.
The biggest health concern about sweet tea is the sugar content. Sugary beverages, including soda, sweet tea, and some juices spike the blood sugar. This is very dangerous for people who have diabetes and pre-diabetes. Also for individuals as well. Over time, sugar can overload and cause damage to the liver, causing metabolic dysfunction. This can lead to weight gain and does not increase the overall nutritional value in your body. Sugar is really detrimental in high doses but in small increments is not as bad for you. The benefits of tea are that they contain antioxidants to prevent cancer, heart disease, obesity, and high cholesterol but sweet tea has so much sugar it may negate some of the healthier benefits.
If you want to cut down on sugar in your daily diet, sweet tea is a good place to start. Nonnutritive sweeteners have fewer calories and a more intense sweetness than actual sugar. Concerns have been raised about their safety in food and beverages. Artificial sweeteners are safe when consumed up to the FDA’s Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI). the ADI of aspartame is 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, and the ADI of saccharin is five milligrams per kilogram of body weight. It is highly advised people with certain conditions or who are looking to watch their health closely stay away from it or limit it in their diets. Of the sweet teas on the market, there are many that are unhealthy but some alternatives exist. A healthier type of tea is herbal roobios tea. It has a naturally sweet taste but it does not need extra sugar in it. It has been linked to health blood sugar levels, improved circulation, and anti-inflammatory properties.
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