Dr. Andrea Middleton - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Andrea Middleton

Are Matcha Lattes Bad For You?



Short answer

A traditional Matcha Latte, combining matcha green tea powder with milk and sweetener, offers numerous health benefits such as antioxidants from matcha. However, the health value depends on the choice of milk and amount of added sweeteners, which can increase calories and sugar content. Opt for low-fat or plant-based milks and less sweetener to keep it healthier. Caffeine from matcha provides a steady energy boost with L-theanine for a calmer effect than coffee. Moderation is key in enjoying the health benefits while managing calorie and sugar intake.



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Long answer

Nutritional Profile of a Traditional Matcha Latte

Understanding the nutritional profile of a traditional Matcha Latte is integral to determining its impact on your health. A Matcha Latte melds the rich nutrients of matcha green tea powder with the creamy texture and flavor of milk and often, a sweetener. Below, we'll break down the typical ingredients and their associated nutritional values.

Matcha Green Tea Powder: Matcha is renowned for its concentration of antioxidants, especially catechins like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which have been linked to numerous health benefits. A 1-gram serving of matcha powder contains roughly:

  • Energy: 3 calories
  • Protein: 306 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 385 mg (of which sugars are negligible)
  • Fiber: 385 mg
  • Total fat: 50 mg
  • Caffeine: 35 mg
  • Vitamins and minerals: Matcha is a source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, potassium, iron, calcium, and magnesium.

Milk: The type of milk used can vary greatly, from whole milk to plant-based alternatives like almond or soy milk. The nutritional content will change accordingly. For instance, 240 ml (about 8 ounces) of whole milk has approximately:

  • Energy: 150 calories
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 12 grams
  • Fat: 8 grams (including saturated fats)
  • Calcium: 300 mg
  • Vitamin D: 2.5 mcg (when fortified)

Plant-based milks typically have a lower calorie count but may be fortified with vitamins and minerals, so it's essential to read the label for exact details.

Sweetener: The addition of sweeteners like sugar, honey, or syrup significantly affects the nutritional profile. For instance, adding one tablespoon of sugar adds about 49 calories and 13 grams of carbohydrates to the drink, all from sugars.

The total nutritional content of a standard Matcha Latte can , therefore, fluctuate widely based on the chosen milk and sweetener. Generally, an 8-ounce serving could range from 110 to 200 calories or more, and the carb content could jump an additional 10 to over 30 grams if sweetened liberally.

Experts agree that while matcha itself is a power-packed ingredient with considerable health assets, the overall healthfulness of a Matcha Latte will largely depend on the other components. For example, a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the effects of green tea and its components on obesity and found that while matcha has potential benefits due to its high catechin content, excessive calorie intake through added sugars and fats could negate these benefits.

In summary, when appraising the healthfulness of your Matcha Latte, it's crucial to consider the quantity and type of milk and sweetener. Opting for low-fat or plant-based milk alternatives and minimizing sweetener can retain the health benefits of matcha while keeping the calorie and sugar content in check.

Sugar Content: The Sweet Side of Matcha Lattes

One of the aspects that can turn a seemingly healthy matcha latte into a less beneficial beverage is its sugar content. Traditionally, matcha is a finely ground powder made from green tea leaves, known for its high antioxidant levels, particularly catechins. However, when we wander into the territory of matcha lattes—especially those prepared in coffee shops or ready-made from stores—the sugar content often spikes, detracting from the health benefits.

Here's what you need to know about the sugar content in matcha lattes:

  • Variation by Source: A homemade matcha latte can be tailored to your taste and health preferences, with the possibility of adding little to no sugar. Coffee shop versions often come with preset amounts of sugar, sometimes as much as 20 to 30 grams per serving, according to nutritional information from popular chains.
  • Type of Sugar Used: The type of sweetener can also impact the health profile. Some establishments use syrups that contain high fructose corn syrup, which has been linked to obesity and diabetes in excessive amounts. Others might use natural sweeteners, like honey or agave, which can offer a slightly better nutritional profile but still add calories.
  • Impact on Health: High sugar consumption is a well-documented health concern. The American Heart Association recommends that men limit their intake of added sugars to 36 grams per day and women to 25 grams. Regularly exceeding this limit can contribute to an increased risk of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Serving Sizes: The size of the latte plays a significant role in the amount of sugar you're consuming. A larger cup size might nearly double the amount of sugar compared to a smaller serving. It’s crucial to pay attention to serving sizes when assessing your intake.

For those who keep an eye on their sugar consumption, here's a brief breakdown of potential sugar content in matcha lattes:

Serving Size Approximate Sugar Content (Homemade) Approximate Sugar Content (Coffee Shop)
8 oz (Small) 0-5 grams 15-25 grams
12 oz (Medium) 0-7 grams 20-30 grams
16 oz (Large) 0-10 grams 25-40 grams

Finding a happy medium where you can enjoy the delightful, creamy texture and unique flavor of a matcha latte without overindulging in sugar is key. Consider the following tips:

  • Opt for Natural Sweeteners: When possible, choose natural sweeteners and use them sparingly. Natural sweeteners might be metabolized slightly differently and offer some nutrients, though they still contribute to your daily sugar intake.
  • DIY Your Latte: Making your matcha latte at home allows you to control the amount of sweetener. Experiment with reducing the sugar quantity gradually to acclimate your taste buds to less sweetness over time.
  • Ask for Customization: When ordering at a cafe, don't hesitate to ask for your matcha latte with less sweetener or with a sugar-free alternative if available.

The takeaway is that while matcha itself is a powerhouse of nutrients, it's the added sugars in matcha lattes that can tip the scales from a health-promoting drink to a potentially harmful one, depending on your overall dietary patterns. Keeping a watchful eye on how your matcha latte is sweetened can help you enjoy this beverage without compromising your well-being.

Caffeine in Matcha vs. Coffee: What's the Difference?

When examining the health effects of a matcha latte, one key component to consider is its caffeine content in comparison to coffee. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world. It's important to take a closer look at how the caffeine in matcha differs from that in coffee, not just in quantity but also in how it affects the body.

Firstly, the caffeine content in matcha can vary significantly depending on the quality and preparation of the matcha powder used. On average, a teaspoon (about 2 grams) of matcha powder contains approximately 70 milligrams of caffeine, while an 8-ounce cup of coffee typically contains about 95 milligrams of caffeine. However, matcha contains other compounds such as L-theanine and catechins, which may alter the "caffeine experience."

Unlike the caffeine high from coffee, which is often associated with a quick spike and subsequent crash in energy levels, the presence of L-theanine in matcha is believed to modulate the effects of caffeine. L-theanine is an amino acid that promotes relaxation without drowsiness. Studies suggest that when combined with caffeine, L-theanine can help to reduce the jitters and anxiety that some individuals experience with caffeine.

  • Study Reference: A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry showed that participants who consumed L-theanine had increased alpha brain wave activity, indicating a state of relaxation without drowsiness.
  • Expert Opinion: Nutrition experts underscore that L-theanine may also help to improve focus and attention, potentially making the caffeine in matcha a more balanced stimulant compared to coffee.

Moreover, the release of caffeine in matcha occurs over a longer period, typically 3-6 hours. This gradual process, influenced by the combination of L-theanine and the type of catechins found in matcha, ensures a more sustained energy boost without the abrupt crash commonly associated with coffee consumption.

Additionally, it's worth noting that matcha contains a specific catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which, beyond its antioxidant properties, may lower the risk of certain chronic diseases. The presence of these catechins could modify the health impact of the caffeine in matcha compared to the simple caffeine found in coffee.

  • Study Reference: Research indicates that EGCG has multiple health benefits, including anti-inflammatory effects, potential anti-cancer properties, and the ability to improve metabolic health.

In conclusion, the difference between the caffeine in matcha and coffee is multifaceted. Matcha carries not only a different quantity of caffeine but also a unique composition of natural compounds that interact with caffeine, thus creating a distinctive stimulant profile. This profile is characterized by a synergy between caffeine and the calming effects of L-theanine, as well as the long-term health benefits of its antioxidant components.

Antioxidants in Matcha: Health Benefits and Hype

Matcha, a finely ground powder made from specially grown and processed green tea leaves, has garnered attention not only for its unique flavor but also for its extensive health benefits, particularly in the realm of antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that help neutralize harmful free radicals in our bodies, potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases. The primary group of antioxidants in matcha are known as catechins, and among them, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) stands out for its potency.

One of the defining aspects of matcha is its cultivation process, which involves shading the tea plants 20-30 days before harvest. This increases the chlorophyll levels and, consequently, the amounts of certain antioxidants. Here's what current research tells us about the health benefits of the antioxidants in matcha:

  • Cardiovascular health: The antioxidants in matcha are thought to help lower the risk of heart disease by reducing LDL cholesterol levels and improving artery function. A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that green tea catechins could help reduce cholesterol levels, suggesting potential cardiovascular benefits.
  • Cancer prevention: While research is still in the early stages, some laboratory and animal studies have indicated that the EGCG in matcha may have cancer-fighting properties. However, concrete evidence in humans is still lacking.
  • Weight loss: Green tea extract, found abundantly in matcha, has been associated with increased fat burning during exercise and may improve resting metabolism, as per research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
  • Brain health: Matcha contains L-theanine, an amino acid that, when combined with caffeine, can promote better cognitive function, as suggested by a study in the Journal of Functional Foods. It's also believed to help with concentration and relaxation.

Despite the promising benefits, the "hype" surrounding matcha should be addressed with a critical eye. While matcha is indeed a nutrient-dense option rich in antioxidants, studies are often conducted on concentrated extracts, and the results may not directly translate to typical consumption of matcha lattes. Additionally, it’s vital to consider the whole dietary pattern rather than focusing singularly on one component like matcha.

Furthermore, matcha can vary greatly in quality, and consequently, in antioxidant levels. Premium, high-grade matcha will contain more antioxidants than a lower-grade counterpart, influencing its potential health benefits. The methodology of the studies also matters, as many are carried out in vitro or on animals, limiting the applicability of the findings to humans without more extensive research.

In summary, while matcha is a valuable source of antioxidants, its health benefits should be viewed in the context of a balanced diet and lifestyle. Drinking matcha lattes in moderation can be a delightful way to incorporate these antioxidants into your diet, but expectations of its health impacts should remain realistic and grounded in available scientific evidence.

The Hidden Calories in Popular Matcha Latte Recipes

When it comes to matcha lattes, the aesthetic appeal and antioxidant properties might entice many, but understanding the caloric content is crucial for those conscious about their dietary intake. Calories in matcha lattes can vary widely depending on the ingredients and serving size. Here's an insightful glimpse into the hidden calories that can be found in typical matcha latte recipes.

At the core, traditional matcha lattes consist of matcha powder mixed with hot water, topped up with steamed milk—often with added sugar or syrup for enhanced sweetness. The type of milk used plays a significant role in the caloric content. Whole milk, for example, has around 150 calories per 8-ounce serving. Swapping whole milk for a plant-based alternative such as almond milk can drastically lower this, to around 30-50 calories per 8-ounce serving. However, bear in mind that sweetened versions of plant-based milks can add additional calories.

The matcha powder itself contains about 10 calories per teaspoon, but it's the additional ingredients that can quickly escalate the drink's calorie count. Common additions include honey, sugar, coconut cream, or syrups, each adding a significant number of calories. A tablespoon of honey, for example, contains about 64 calories. Syrups, which are frequently used for flavor and sweetness, can add around 20 calories per pump, with specialty lattes sometimes including multiple pumps.

In light of these variations, let's take a look at the hidden calories through an illustrative table:

Ingredient Calorie Content (per serving)
Matcha Powder (1 tsp) 10 calories
Whole Milk (8 oz) 150 calories
Almond Milk (8 oz) 30-50 calories
Honey (1 tbsp) 64 calories
Sugar Syrup (1 pump) ~20 calories

Bear in mind that many coffee shops and restaurants often serve matcha lattes in larger sizes, with proportionally higher caloric content. There's also the potential for customizations that can increase the calorie count—such as extra scoops of matcha, additional syrups, whipped cream toppings, or the inclusion of flavored powders or spices.

Understanding these details can empower individuals looking to enjoy matcha lattes without overstepping their daily caloric intake requirements. For those monitoring their calorie consumption, opting for adjustments like using skim milk, sugar substitutes, or minimizing the amount of sweetener can significantly reduce the calorie load of this popular drink without compromising on taste.

Ensuring to account for these hidden calories is essential, particularly for those with weight management goals or those with dietary restrictions requiring precise caloric intake monitoring. Consulting with a dietitian for personalized advice can be valuable in determining the best approach to including matcha lattes as part of a balanced diet.

Considering Dairy and Non-Dairy Options for Matcha Lattes

When it comes to enjoying a matcha latte, one of the key components beyond the vibrant green tea itself is the choice of milk. The type of milk not only influences the texture and flavor but also significantly affects the nutritional profile and potential health implications of your beverage. Let's break down what you should know about dairy and non-dairy options for matcha lattes.

Dairy Milk: Traditional matcha lattes are often made with cow's milk, which lends a rich creaminess to the drink. Cow's milk is a source of proteins such as casein and whey, as well as vital nutrients including calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. However, full-fat dairy milk is also high in saturated fats, which should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

  • Whole Milk: A source of complete protein, but also higher in calories and saturated fats.
  • Skim or Low-Fat Milk: Lower in calories and fats, but some studies suggest that whole fats in dairy may be beneficial for cardiovascular health (e.g., de Oliveira Otto et al., 2013).

Non-Dairy Milks: The rising popularity of plant-based lifestyles has amplified the selection of non-dairy alternatives. Non-dairy milks can cater to those with lactose intolerance, allergies, or those seeking plant-based nutrition. They often come fortified with nutrients but their nutritional content can vary widely depending on the source and the presence of added sugars or flavorings.

Non-Dairy Milk Benefits Considerations
Almond Milk Low in calories, dairy-free May lack protein, often has added sugar
Soy Milk Complete protein, similar texture to cow's milk Contains phytoestrogens which may affect hormone levels, though research is inconclusive (e.g., Messina, 2016)
Coconut Milk Rich flavor, contains MCTs High in saturated fats, lower in protein
Oat Milk High in fiber, environmentally friendly Often has added sugars, can be higher in calories
Cashew Milk Creamier texture, low in calories May lack protein; check for added oils and sugars

When choosing between dairy and non-dairy milks for your matcha latte, consider your dietary needs and health goals. Those watching their calorie intake might prefer almond or cashew milk, while someone in need of a protein boost may choose soy or cow milk. Also, be mindful of added sugars in flavored or sweetened versions—it's often best to opt for unsweetened varieties to maintain control over the beverage's sugar content.

Finally, to ensure a nutrient-dense choice, check the ingredient labels for fortification, especially for bone-health nutrients like calcium and vitamin D, particularly if you are using a non-dairy alternative. Some non-dairy milks may lack these nutrients unless they are specifically added during manufacturing.

Appreciating that everyone's taste preferences and nutritional needs are different, your choice of dairy or non-dairy milk in your matcha latte should align with your personal health objectives, dietary restrictions, and flavor likes. Always enjoy in moderation and as part of a diverse and balanced diet.

Balancing Indulgence and Health: How to Enjoy Matcha Lattes Responsibly

Matcha lattes, a trendy and Instagram-worthy beverage, have gained popularity not only for their visual appeal but also for matcha's acclaimed health benefits. However, as with any indulgent drink, moderation and mindful preparation are key to ensuring that your matcha latte habit supports your health rather than detracts from it.

Choose Quality Ingredients: The foundation of any good matcha latte is, of course, the matcha itself. Opting for high-quality, ceremonial-grade matcha can ensure that you're receiving the full spectrum of nutrients and antioxidants without the bitterness that lower-quality grades might impart. When it comes to the milk, consider unsweetened and lower-fat options such as almond, soy, or oat milk for a calorie-conscious choice that doesn't sacrifice creaminess.

Watch Your Sweeteners: Many commercial matcha lattes are laden with sweeteners which can quickly turn a healthful drink into a sugar bomb. If crafting your latte at home, you can control the amount and type of sweetener used. Natural sweeteners like honey, agave, or maple syrup can be used sparingly, or you might opt for a sugar-free alternative like stevia or erythritol. Remember, the goal is to enhance the matcha's natural flavor, not overpower it.

Serving Size Matters: Portion control is essential in managing calorie intake. A standard homemade matcha latte might contain about 8 ounces (240 milliliters) of liquid. However, café portions can be significantly larger. To enjoy responsibly, stick to smaller sizes or split a larger serving with a friend.

Timing is Key: Because matcha contains caffeine, it's best enjoyed earlier in the day to avoid potential sleep disturbances. Moreover, enjoying a matcha latte post-meal can offer satisfaction of a sweet craving with the added benefit of matcha's antioxidants without leading to unnecessary snacking later.

Forego the Extras: Specialty beverages are often offered with tempting add-ons like whipped cream, extra syrup, or flavored drizzles. While delicious, these extras can convert your beverage from a modest indulgence to a caloric splurge. Enjoying the latte in its simplest form honors both the taste and the health properties of matcha.

Make It a Treat, Not a Habit: As with any indulgence, frequency matters. A matcha latte can fit into a balanced diet when viewed as an occasional treat rather than a daily necessity. This approach allows for dietary variety and reduces the risk of consuming excess calories and sugar on a regular basis.

Know the Nutritional Profile: Understanding the nutritional content of your matcha latte can help you make informed choices. Homemade versions, where you can control the ingredients, typically offer a clearer nutritional profile. A plain matcha latte with unsweetened almond milk, for example, may have around 70 calories and less than 1 gram of sugar, while a store-bought version with added sweeteners may contain several times more.

Being mindful of these considerations can help matcha latte enthusiasts enjoy their favorite beverage without undermining their health goals. By choosing quality ingredients, moderating sweeteners, monitoring portion sizes, selecting the right timing, skipping the extras, and making it an occasional treat, you can align your matcha latte indulgence with a healthy and balanced dietary pattern.

Frequently asked questions

Plant-based milks can be a good alternative to dairy for those with lactose intolerance, allergies, or for those following a plant-based diet. They are often lower in calories and saturated fats when compared to whole dairy milk, and many are fortified with nutrients. However, one should be aware of added sugars in some plant-based milks, which could detract from their health benefits.

Green tea extract, which is abundant in matcha, has been associated with increased fat burning during exercise and may boost resting metabolism. However, matcha lattes often contain added sugars and fats that can negate these benefits. Therefore, for weight loss, one should consider unsweetened, low-calorie versions of matcha lattes and maintain an overall balanced diet and exercise routine.

Matcha contains roughly 70 milligrams of caffeine per teaspoon (about 2 grams), while an 8-ounce cup of coffee typically has about 95 milligrams of caffeine. However, matcha also contains L-theanine, an amino acid which modulates the effects of caffeine, potentially offering a more sustained energy boost without the crash that coffee might cause.

Matcha is particularly high in a type of antioxidant known as catechins, including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which have various potential health benefits. Compared to other teas and coffee, matcha undergoes a unique shading process before harvest that increases its antioxidant levels, making it a richer source of these compounds.

Ask a question about Matcha Latte and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • increased alertness
  • potential energy crash
  • jitters and anxiety (less likely due to l-theanine)
  • increased heart rate

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain (with excessive calorie and sugar intake)
  • increased risk of chronic diseases (with high sugar consumption)
  • possible dental issues (with high sugar intake)

Ingredients to be aware of


  • rich in antioxidants
  • cardiovascular health benefits
  • may aid in weight loss
  • cognitive function support
  • relaxation without drowsiness
  • cancer prevention potential
  • sustained energy release
  • cholesterol management
  • enhanced metabolic health

Healthier alternatives

  • unsweetened plant-based milk
  • natural sweeteners (in moderation)
  • reduced sweetener usage
  • high-quality, ceremonial-grade matcha
  • smaller serving sizes

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Jade Leaf Matcha Latte Mix

  • Organic matcha powder
  • Cafe style blend
  • Sweetened flavor
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Convenient mix
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 05-03-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 05-03-2024

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