Is Iced Tea Good For You?

Iced tea is a drink popular in the Southern United States but enjoyed around the country. We tend to think of tea as a healthy beverage, so is the iced version just as good for you? When you're buying a bottle of iced tea at the grocery store, probably not. According to Consumer Reports, it can be difficult to tell if you're getting any health benefits at all from storebought products. "In order to have these beneficial effects, the tea you're drinking must be high in antioxidants," said Joe Vinson, PhD, professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. "And there's no way of knowing what you're actually getting when you buy iced tea in a bottle."

The biggest issue with many brands of iced tea is the sugar content. One bottle can contain as much sugar as a can of soda, which doesn't make it any healthier than the carbonated beverage. For example, a 23-ounce can of Arizona Peach Tea contains 69 grams of sugar and 259 calories. With few vitamins and minerals to account for, it's safe to say that iced tea high in sugar is not very good for you.

Don't drink iced tea in excess

There is another reason to avoid chugging multiple bottles of iced tea each day. According to University of Utah Health, a 56-year-old man was placed on dialysis due to kidney failure after drinking about one gallon of iced tea each day for an extended period of time. "Iced tea is full of oxalic acid, which, when taken in excess, deposits in your kidneys and mucks up the work of removing waste from the blood," said Scott Youngquist, MD, an emergency physician at University of Utah Health. "This patient was drinking 16 8-ounce glasses of iced tea per day for an unknown period of time. This created a load of oxalic acid that his kidneys couldn't handle, leading to renal failure."

A glass or two a day of iced tea won't cause these types of issues, but it's important to be aware that drinking anything in excess can cause health issues. As long as you stick to unsweetened iced tea and don't go overboard with the amount you're drinking, you can enjoy this drink regularly.