How Many Calories In Unsweet Tea?

Ever wonder how many calories in unsweet tea drinks are? We’ve got a breakdown for you.

how many calories in unsweet tea - fresh and dried tea leaves
Traditional tea is made by pouring hot water to Camellia sinensis leaves

Tea is the second most commonly drank beverage on Earth, surpassed only by water.

Tea is traditionally made by pouring hot water over leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant, which brews an aromatic infusion that hydrates and energizes the body. 

In its most basic, traditional form, tea is about 2 calories per cup. This nutrition information is the same for any kind of unsweetened tea, even herbal teas.

It’s a great beverage to consume if you’re focused on weight loss or trying to stay hydrated.

Nutrition Facts of Tea

Even though tea without sugar or milk has no calories, it still contains plenty of nutritional value. Plain tea, whether hot or cold, is good for having a positive effect on health.

Some of these effects are unexpected.

For example, tea doesn’t contain a lot of calcium, but studies have shown that drinking tea regularly has a protective effect on our bones.

Certain herbal teas contain higher levels of vitamins and beneficial effects than even traditional teas do. Rose hip tea, for instance, is high in vitamin C, while nettle tea has been proven in studies to reduce the effects of allergens on the sinuses.

What About Calories In Tea?

What makes tea high in calories (especially carbohydrates) are additives like sugar. Putting milk in tea will also add calories, but not as much as sugar does. Milk adds extras like small amounts of vitamin D and dairy fat.

While some tea drinkers add them at home, the biggest calorie bombs in tea drinks are in those that are purchased pre-made from restaurants and grocery stores. 

It’s always a good idea to look at the full nutrition labels on processed sweet tea bottles. Examine how much sugar they contain to fit into a standard calorie diet without compromising health.

We’ve compiled a list of common pre-made tea drinks and the caloric contents of each of them so you’ll know what you’re getting when you order tea from a menu or grab it off a store shelf.

1. Chick-Fil-A Iced Tea

Chick-Fil-A offers cold tea, either plain or sweetened with cane sugar. The unsweetened iced tea is touted as calorie-free. 

A medium sweet iced tea is 20 ounces, and contain 31 grams of carbs, which equals about 120 calories.

2. McDonald’s Iced Tea

McDonald’s unsweetened iced tea has no calories, but does contain 15 mg of sodium, which is not typical for tea.

Mcdonald's variety of drinks
McDonald’s medium sweet tea is approximately 110 calories

A medium sweet tea from McDonald’s is 21 ounces and contains 28 grams of added sugar, or about 110 calories.

3. Sonic Teas

Sonic Drive-ins offer iced tea, either sweetened or unsweetened, with fruit-flavored add ins.

Their unsweetened tea is calorie-free, but fruit add-ins introduce extra calories.

  • Sugar-free add-ins can add an extra 10 calories per serving.
  • Flavored sweeteners can add as little as 20 calories or as much as 70 calories per serving, almost entirely due to added sugars.

A medium sweetened iced tea is 20 ounces, and contains 45 grams of added sugar, about 170 calories.

4. Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts offers unsweetened iced tea without calories as well.

A medium sweet tea is 24 fl oz and contain 60 grams of sugar, about 230 calories.

5. Lipton Pure Leaf

Pure Leaf is a popular brand of pre-made tea found in grocery and convenience stores.

Bottles come in a serving size of 18.5 fl oz and the unsweetened black tea is calorie free. 

An 18.5 ounce bottle of their Sweet Tea contains 42 grams of sugar, about 160 calories.

Another option Pure Leaf offers is Honey Green Tea, which contains 25 grams of honey, about 100 calories.

The Last Word In Calories In Unsweet Tea

General nutrition advice is to avoid consuming a lot of refined sugar. 

Much of the sugar Americans consume is in the form of beverages, including sweetened tea drinks, so it’s important to pay attention to how much sugar you are consuming in your daily tea.

The American Heart Association recommends that women limit themselves to no more than 24 grams of refined sugar (about 100 calories), and that men limit themselves to no more than 36 grams (about 150 calories) as a daily value.

If you’re wondering how much sugar is in your drinks, make a practice of reading nutrition labels or measuring out your sugar if you make tea at home. 

A good rule of thumb is that 1 teaspoon of sugar is about 4 grams.

With our guide, you should be able to keep track of how much sugar you’re consuming along with your tea. 

Tea should enhance your health, not diminish it!

How Many Calories In Unsweet Tea FAQs

Does tea cause weight gain?

By itself, no. In fact, tea contains flavonoids called catechins that can boost your metabolism and help fat break down more quickly. The caffeine in tea also helps your body burn more calories. Both can contribute to weight loss.

Is unsweet tea bad for you?

No, tea by itself contains compounds that improve health, including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory flavonoids. It also has no cholesterol and no trans fat. Unsweetened tea has zero total fat and zero total carbohydrate, making it a perfectly healthy, calorie-free drink for people who wish to limit their daily calorie needs.


  • AE Inman

    A E Inman is a direct response copywriter and humor blogger. When she's not poking fun at her attempts to start a writing business, she can be found in the tea aisle of her local import store, arguing with strangers over the merits of rare tea varietals. She enjoys writing copy while consuming copious amounts of coffee and gunpowder tea.