Tea Tuesday: A Spoonful of Sugar…Good or Bad?
Tea has been touted for its health benefits for several centuries now. As we have said before, tea is a source of antioxidants, and according to studies, can stimulate weight loss, reduce cholesterol levels, and even help control blood sugar. But, many tea drinkers take their cup with some sugar. When you add sugar, does that negate these health benefits? Let’s learn the answer to this question, and explore how the sugar craze started.
A Little History
The practice of adding sugar to tea did not begin in ancient China, as tea drinking itself did. While in some areas of China, yellow rock sugar was used in tea; this was rarely the case. The Europeans, particularly the British, had taken sugar consumption to a new level by the end of the 1600s, as they were using it to sweeten everything in their colonies, including tea. By the end of the next century, England was using ten times the amount of sugar that its continental neighbors used. So you could say that the popularity of sugar in tea began with the British.
The Good and the Bad
Adding a little bit of sugar to your cup of tea does not generally take away antioxidants, or other compounds that promote good health. However, as you may expect, flavoring your tea with additional sugar can increase the beverage’s calorie content. The American Heart Association suggests limiting your added sugar consumption to 6 to 9 teaspoons per day. Added sugars are any sweeteners added to foods and beverages, that are not naturally occurring in those products. When your diet is rich in added sugars, it greatly increases your risk of weight gain and obesity.
It’s best to cut out these added sugars and sweeteners as much as possible to minimize and avoid hose risks. A little bit of sugar is not bad, but only as long as it’s consumed in moderation. We’re not saying that you should immediately quit added sugars cold turkey. Over time, try to gradually reduce the amount of sweeteners that you use, so that you can adjust to the flavor of the tea in its natural state.
When you start adding those extra sweeteners to your cup of tea, it can cancel out some of the health benefits, namely fat-burning; so keep track of those calories.
Some tea connoisseurs consider it a sacrilege to add sugar to tea, believing it to kill the subtle flavors. But, here at CoffeeAM, we think that each and every tea drinker has his or her own way of enjoying their favorite beverage, and if you take anything in moderation, it is less likely to have a negative impact on your health.
If you’re looking for a fresh selection of gourmet teas to replace your usual picks, we’re sure you’ll enjoy our most popular loose-leaf teas, herbal teas and tisanes available today at CoffeeAM.