Is Sweet Tea Bad For You?

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Last Updated on August 21, 2022 by Scott

Southern style sweet tea is one of those beverages that you can quickly drink a ton of before you even realize how much you’ve had. It’s delicious, refreshing, and quenches thirst like nothing else. When made to taste, it’s exactly the kind of enticing treat that keeps you going back for more.

Despite its wonderful flavor, sweet tea and other sugary drinks like it are linked to an increase in health problems such as obesity and diabetes. According to dietitians and medical doctors alike, drinking sweet tea can have a troubling negative impact on your health. Dr. Scott Youngquist from the University of Utah Medical Center states that it may even lead to kidney failure.

iced sweet tea
Iced Sweet Tea

It might seem like grabbing another glass of sweet tea is harmless, but there is strong evidence that even one extra glass a day could detrimentally affect your body, increasing your risk for diabetes by up to 16%.

Is It Safe To Drink Sweet Tea?

For the most part, drinking sweet tea is not terrible for you, but what is important is the quantity you’re consuming. Moderation is important when it comes to any kind of sugary drink, especially sweet tea which is easy to think of as a healthy option because it lacks the additives associated with other sugary beverages.

There are a few health issues that can crop up when consuming sweet tea, especially in excess.

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney failure
  • Reduced iron absorption
  • Increased anxiety or restlessness

Most of these health issues can be attributed to the amount of sugar added to sweet tea to give it the sweetness of its namesake. Other factors are things such as oxalic acid which, when consumed in excess, can remain in your kidneys causing problems, and tannins which can prevent the body from absorbing iron effectively. Lastly, caffeine is well known to trigger anxiety and cause restlessness.

Should You Switch To Unsweetened Tea?

Sugar adds a lot of unnecessary calories to your daily intake, and sugary drinks are a large contributor to having an excess amount in your diet, it’s easy to overlook how quickly it adds up.

Helpful Hint:

It may be helpful to turn away from those cups of sweet tea to reduce your risk of health problems.

Unsweetened tea has many of its own benefits, and there are a ton of different types of tea so even if you might miss the sugary beverage, there are lots of options to replace it.

What Are The Benefits Of Drinking Tea Every Day?

Interestingly, tea consumption is known to help with weight loss, especially those that are made with yerba mate. Some types of tea like yerba mate can help to trigger your system to burn off the fatty acids in your blood cells.

Loose Leaf Tea
Loose Leaf Tea

Another perk of drinking tea is the consumption of polyphenols which have a bunch of great benefits to your health. For one, it can trigger the production of collagen in your system, helping your skin to retain its elasticity and keeping your skin looking healthier for longer. This same protein can reduce your blood pressure levels, keeping your circulatory system strong.

One of the biggest benefits that have been discovered is that drinking unsweetened tea every day may be good for your heart! Unsweetened tea can contain flavonoids that aid the heart and keep it healthier by protecting arteries from inflammation and atherosclerosis. It’s been shown that these flavonoids can aid your heart in being the strongest it can be.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sweet Tea

Q. Is sweet tea as bad as soda?

Because sweet tea has marginally less sugar added than other sugary drinks such as soda, it is a little bit better for you overall, but not significantly enough to separate it from being an unhealthy option. In the long run, it can affect your health just as much as any other beverage that is high in sugar.

Q. Which tea is the healthiest?

With natural antioxidants and polyphenols, green tea (including matcha) is proven to be the healthiest tea among the many available. It also goes through far less processing, being harvested, dried, and sent to be packaged. It’s also known to be good for the brain and heart, making it a great alternative to sweet tea.

Q. Does tea dehydrate you?

Since most teas contain caffeine there is potential for it to cause dehydration, but so long as you are drinking a normal amount of tea, it’s unlikely to affect you. It would take drinking more than four or five cups to begin to see dehydrating effects caused by tea.


So should you entirely give up your daily sweet tea consumption? Given all of this information, it’s safe to say that while sweet tea isn’t necessarily bad, the negative impact on your health from drinking too much is a good reason to reduce and not over-consume it. Again, moderation is a good rule-of-thumb here.

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