While it is a delicious and refreshing beverage, is sweet tea good for you? Keep reading to find out.
Sweet tea has several advantages and disadvantages, primarily due to the health benefits of tea and the potential risks of sugar. Black tea is quite healthy. Tea also contains caffeine, which can help boost your energy and focus.
However, sweet tea’s high sugar and calorie content may cause issues for people with diabetes and can lead to weight gain. Therefore, if you wish to regularly consume sweet tea while still considering it a “healthy” beverage, you should either constantly monitor your intake or prepare it with less sugar.
What Is Sweet Tea?
Sweet tea is a black tea mixed with sugar while it is still hot and then allowed to cool. The flavor of this tea is not overpowered by the pleasantly sweet taste of this beverage — and it is often served over ice.
Depending on the producer, this tea can be further flavored or sweetened, although plain sweet tea is popular in some countries. The added sugar in this beverage can be pretty considerable, even though it may still be considered healthier than some sugar-rich sodas.
When it comes to nutrition, sweet tea contains very few nutrients other than what is already present in regular tea, including vitamins, flavonoids, and antioxidants. It also contains a fair amount of carbohydrates from sugar. In addition, it also contains caffeine, polyphenolic compounds, and catechins.
A cup of sweet tea typically contains about 75 calories, but this number could increase considerably if more sugar is added. You’ll love our round-up of the best sweet tea brands.
Are Sweet Tea And Iced Tea The Same?
There is currently no conclusion to the highly controversial topic of whether iced tea and sweet tea are similar. Unfortunately for tea consumers worldwide, the difference between these two beverages is complicated. With so many different variations and ways to customize these drinks, there’s no definitive answer.
Sweet tea and iced tea are different types of drinks. Sweet tea is a sweetened tea that can be served either hot or cold.
On the other hand, iced tea is regularly brewed tea that is chilled and served over ice. However, the terms “sweet tea” and “iced tea” are both used when discussing iced tea and hot tea that has been sweetened.
What Is The Difference Between Sweet Tea And Iced Tea?
Black tea is traditionally used to make iced tea, which is then brewed and then allowed to cool. It is usually served plain over some ice. While early American recipes primarily used green tea leaves, black tea was a more affordable import, so it became more popular.
When a seller in St. Louis, Missouri, strained his unsold hot tea over ice during an exhibition fair in the summer of 1904, iced tea received its big break as a commercial beverage.
Black tea is also traditionally used to make sweet tea, which is then brewed and sweetened before being chilled, and served over some ice. Like iced tea, early sweet tea recipes primarily used green tea but eventually made the switch to black tea. Both teas have early recipes that date back to America’s colonial era.
It is also interesting that both beverages’ original recipes combined green tea with alcohol. Rather than being referred to as iced or sweet tea, these drinks were more commonly called “tea punches.” You may also be interested in reading our guide on boozy sweet tea.
Is Sweet Tea Good For You? The Health and Nutritional Benefits
8 Health Benefits of Sweet Tea
1. Boosts Your Metabolism
You have likely heard that sugar is unhealthy — but you might not be aware that there are different types of sugar. Natural sugars, such as those found in honey and fruits, can boost your metabolism due to fructose, which can aid in fat burning.
Another effective metabolism booster is caffeine. Sweet tea can also boost your metabolism thanks to its caffeine content.
2. Supports Heart Health
Tea has certain health advantages despite having a lot of calories — supporting heart health is one of these advantages. First, it contains antioxidants that can prevent artery and heart damage caused by free radicals. Second, studies have shown that drinking black tea can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of blood clots.
3. Relieves Stress
Stress can affect your heart by increasing your cortisol levels, a type of hormone that can cause damage to your heart. Sweet tea is a soothing beverage that can be beneficial for reducing stress levels.
People who suffer from anxiety or insomnia may find relief from their symptoms thanks to the caffeine in sweet tea, which stimulates the brain without being too intense, like coffee or other caffeinated beverages. Caffeine affects physical and mental function and can help people stay more attentive.
4. Reduces The Risk Of Infection
Sweet tea may also help to lower your risk of infection. This is because sweet tea includes compounds that can eliminate harmful bacteria inside your body. Tea can reduce the risk of infection more effectively than plain water.
5. Keeps Your Kidneys Healthy
We are all aware of the health benefits of tea. However, did you know that tea benefits your kidneys?
Yes, that’s right — a study found that drinking tea can help maintain the health and functionality of your kidneys. If you have kidney problems, the study recommends consuming at least one cup of hot or iced black tea daily — so make sure to sip tea more often!
6. Helps You Stay Hydrated
Your overall health depends on staying hydrated; drinking sweet tea can help as it contains a lot of water. In addition, the sugar in sweet tea can aid in replenishing electrolytes, which are necessary for proper hydration.
According to studies, consuming green tea daily can cut the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) by up to 40%. Since iced tea contains caffeine, drinking it also results in more energy.
You may also be interested in reading our guide on is chai tea hydrating.
7. Improves Your Mood
Drinking sweet tea can undoubtedly improve your mood. The sugar added to the tea increases your blood sugar levels, which can improve your mood and energy.
8. Reduces Free Radical Damage
In addition, the antioxidants present in tea can help protect your body from free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that have the potential to damage cells and cause disease – but too much sugar may counteract this.
3 Nutritional Benefits Of Sweet Tea
9. High In Vitamins
Black tea has been shown to contain antioxidants that can support heart health and vitamins and minerals. It also contains high levels of antioxidants, including flavonoids. These antioxidants can help to protect your cells against cell damage, which can result in heart disease.
10. Contains Potassium
Since potassium is an electrolyte that can be lost through sweating, drinking sweet tea can be beneficial in replenishing potassium. Potassium is also important for managing blood pressure and heart rate.
11. Low In Sodium
Sweet tea also includes salt, just like black tea. However, compared to soda, it contains less sodium. Too much sodium is linked to high blood pressure.
How To Make The Perfect Sweet Tea
Here’s a simple guide on how to make sweet tea.
- One ounce of black tea
- One and one eight cups of unbleached cane sugar
- Twelve cups of purified water or Springwater
- One-gallon pitcher
Step 1: Heat The Water
Heat some water in a pot. Add your black tea once the water is boiling and turn off the heat. Stir the mixture using a non-metal or wooden spoon for 30 seconds.
Step 2: Steep
Steep the tea leaves for four minutes and 30 seconds. Tea becomes bitter if steeped for a longer period.
Step 3: Cool
Fill the pitcher with sugar and ice. After brewing, strain the tea over the pitcher. Stir well until the sugar dissolves and refrigerate.
Step 4: Serve
Serve the tea in a glass with ice and a lemon wedge garnish. You may also be interested in reading our guide on what are the best teas to use for iced tea.