Bottled Teas  (Source: Sixth Seal)
Consumers would have to drink 20 bottles of store-bought tea to equal one fresh-brewed cup

Tea is known for its abundant health advantages. One advantage is that most contain polyphenols, which is a type of antioxidant that can clean up a cell's inner functions, making it easier for our bodies to ward off certain types of diseases. In fact, as much as 30 percent of a freshly picked tea leaf is made up of polyphenols. But recently, scientists have revealed that most bottled, store-bought teas  don't contain the amount of polyphenols as advertised.

Shiming Li, Ph.D. and Professor Chi-Tang Ho, along with a team of scientists, announced this new finding at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). They measured the polyphenol levels of six different store-bought, bottled tea brands using high-performance liquid chromatography and found that they contained extremely low levels of polyphenol in comparison with fresh-brewed tea (with a tea bag, not bottled). The six brands were not named in reports.

In fact, according to their findings, three of the bottled tea brands contained "virtually no" antioxidants while the other three had such small amounts that they wouldn't be beneficial to the consumer's health anyway. Also, the amount of sugar in each bottle of tea at the
supermarket contains so much sugar that it eclipses the small amount of polyphenol, disallowing any chance of the antioxidant positively affecting someone's health.

"Consumers understand very well the concept of the health benefits from drinking tea or consuming other tea products," said Li. "However, there is a huge gap between the perception that tea consumption is healthy and the actual amount of the healthful nutrients - polyphenols - found in bottled tea beverages. Our analysis of tea beverages found that the polyphenol content is extremely low."

The six different teas that this team of scientists measured had 81, 43, 40, 13, 4 and 3 milligrams (mg.) of polyphenols "per 16-ounce bottle." This is very low, considering fresh-brewed black or green tea can have anywhere from 50-150 mg. A normal tea bag can have as much as 175 mg. of polyphenols per bag, but after being dunked in hot water, some of the antioxidant degrades. 

According to the research, these bottled tea beverages account for $1 billion in sales annually within the United States. Also, they reported that consumers would have to drink about 20 bottles of the store-bought tea brands which contain the lowest polyphenol levels in order to receive any health benefits. 

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