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Is AriZona Iced Tea Bad For You?



Short answer

The tea itself is not bad for you. However, the incredibly large amounts of sugar and the use of aluminum cans is another story.



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Long answer

The Arizona Tea company offers nearly 121 various iced tea products containing several types of tea, sugar levels, flavoring, and combinations. In considering this, we have to understand that each will have different levels of health benefits and concerns.

In looking at the Lemon Iced Tea with Real Sugar, there are really only 4 ingredients: blends of black tea, filtered water, sugar, and citric acid. Not too bad for ingredients! The sugar content is kind of extreme, though, and that’s looking at a serving size of 8oz and keeping in mind that the company begins selling this at the 16oz size.

So, let’s say you drink the whole can of this flavor iced tea, 16 whole ounces. That’s 140 calories with 44 carbohydrates and 42 grams of sugar with no fiber, vitamins, or minerals. Yes, 42 grams of sugar! For your reference, that is 10.5 teaspoons. The World Health Organization suggests that an adult of normal BMI consume no more than 25 grams of sugar in a day – and that should really be coming from whole food sources like fruit.

Excess sugar in the diet can lead to a slew of health concerns, especially if it is a regular occurrence. One of the major effects can be seen on your appetite control system in the form of insulin and leptin. Sugar increases the demand for insulin which decreases your body’s sensitivity to it and lets glucose build up in the blood instead of being metabolized into energy. A cascade effect amongst hormones follows suit with leptin, the hormone that tells you you’re full, which fails to be signaled. The end result is weight gain and obesity.

Too much sugar in the diet can also lead to the development of metabolic syndrome which is classified by the presence of many symptoms including weight gain, abdominal obesity, increased blood sugar, elevated triglycerides and LDL with decreased HDL, and high blood pressure. As you gain weight and continue to include sugary drinks like Arizona Iced Tea in your diet, you increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Organs like your heart, kidneys, and liver also pay a toll when it comes to excess sugar. The liver treats sugar and alcohol very similar with a potential for liver damage long-term.  The heart and kidneys are at increased risk of disease because sugar increases uric acid levels.

We should also mention the grab and go aluminum can that Arizona Iced Tea is well known to use. Aluminum exposure has been linked to degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases at the top of the list. Aluminum produces oxidative stress of the brain, which is toxic.

Possible short-term side effects

  • hormonal imbalance
  • increased blood sugar
  • increased blood pressure

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain, obesity
  • elevated triglycerides
  • increased ldl, decreased hdl
  • metabolic syndrome
  • diabetes: type 2
  • liver damage
  • heart disease
  • kidney disease
  • degenerative brain disease

Ingredients to be aware of

  • sugar
  • citric acid
  • various flavorings/colorings depending on the type
  • aluminum (from the can)

Healthier alternatives

  • freshly brewed green tea (pure and free of any additives)

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Pure Leaf Unsweetened Tea

  • Zero calories
  • Unsweetened green tea
  • No added sugar
  • Convenient bottle format
  • Natural antioxidants
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
Published on: 09-03-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
Published on: 09-03-2016
Last updated: 12-15-2023

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