Hardcore tea fans have a love-hate relationship with Arizona Green Tea.
There’s no denying that it’s tasty, easy to find, and inexpensive. However, this off-the-shelf iced tea might not satisfy your desire for a rich, healthy tea.
Many people reach for Arizona Green Tea without reading the ingredient list because it’s marketed as being healthy and they assume that “green tea” always means that it’s good for you.
It’s true that Arizona Green Tea does contain some healthy ingredients. What’s more, it’s probably better for you than most sodas and juices.
However, this tea contains a hefty helping of sugar that may not be very healthy in large amounts.
How does it all shake up?
Let’s go through the ingredients of Arizona Green Tea to decide if this tea drink is actually good for you.
Is Arizona Green Tea Healthy?
Before writing this article I bought a one-gallon container of Arizona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey.
Some time had passed since I last had Arizona iced tea. I poured it into a glass with ice and tasted it — my first thought was “this really tastes sweet”. Even too sweet for my taste. But that might just mean that I’m getting old.
Can this kind of sweet tea drink be good for your health?
The only way to answer the question is to know what you’re actually drinking before you crack open your next Arizona Green Tea.
So let’s take a closer look at the ingredients and nutrition facts on the back label of the container.
The core ingredients in Arizona Green Tea are pretty straightforward.
Luckily, there are no heavy preservatives, fillers, additives, or dyes in this drink. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a “health” drink.
Here’s the complete list of ingredients in Arizona Green Tea:
- Brewed Green Tea
- Filtered Water
- High-Fructose Corn Syrup (Glucose-Fructose Syrup)
- Citric Acid
- Natural Flavors
- Ginseng Root Extract
- Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
So what are the unhealthy ingredients in Arizona Green Tea?
As you can see, the only real “red flag” is the high-fructose corn syrup. Most experts agree that it’s worse for you than regular table sugar.
While it’s technically similar to white sugar on a chemical level, high-fructose corn syrup is handled by your body slightly differently. That’s why consuming large amounts of this sweetener is linked with weight gain, obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and inflammation.
The other issue with high-fructose corn syrup is that it doesn’t have any nutritional value. That means you’re truly consuming “empty” calories that don’t provide your body with any essential nutrients.
Are there any healthy ingredients?
The news isn’t all bad when you look at the nutrition label of Arizona Green Tea.
Green Tea: This drink uses real brewed green tea. Rich in antioxidants, green tea is believed to help burn fat, reduce cancer risks, lower cholesterol, boost heart health, and prevent cognitive decline.
The only problem is that we don’t know how much green tea it actually contains. The amount might be so little that you don’t really get any of the benefits.
Honey: The Sue Bee Premium Orange Blossom Honey used in Arizona Green Tea is also full of health benefits. While it’s not as healthy as the top manuka honey brands, orange blossom honey is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-cancer, and immune-supporting properties. It’s also supposedly great for both skin health and wound healing.
Ginseng: Arizona Green Tea With Ginseng and Honey promises the health benefits of drinking tea with real ginseng. Ginseng is an herbal remedy that’s been a staple in ancient Chinese medicine for centuries.
It is credited with:
- Boosting brain function
- Boosting sexual vitality
- Strengthening the immune system
- Reducing risks for certain cancers
- Increasing energy levels
- Balancing blood sugar
All this sounds great, right?
The problem here is that it looks like Arizona tea doesn’t actually contain any ginseng.
According to Vice, two customers filed a lawsuit because of false advertising. Arizona Green Tea was tested in two different food laboratories and there was no ginseng found in the drink.
So even if some ginseng extract really was added to the drink, the amount is so little that it’s very unlikely to provide any health benefits.
Vitamin C: There is 12 milligrams of added vitamin C in every 8 oz serving of Arizona Green Tea — that’s about 15% of the recommended daily intake. If you are not eating much fruits and vegetables, at least it can help you with getting some of this essential vitamin.
Finally, the filtered water used in Arizona teas is simply great for staying hydrated.
The hydration and nutrition offered by this tea can make it a better choice than cola for many reasons. According to researchers, the popular cola drinks that you find on the shelf next to Arizona Iced Tea are full of phosphorus that can actually increase the loss of calcium from the body through the kidneys.
Calories and Sugar
While Arizona Green Tea comes in containers, cans, and bottles of different sizes, let’s use a standard serving size of 8 fluid ounces (240 ml) to make things simple.
Another option would be to use a 12 oz serving size as listed on the label of my one-gallon container, but let’s stick with 8 oz for now.
One 8 oz serving of Arizona Green Tea contains almost 70 calories. The issue is that it’s often bought in 23-ounce cans that contain roughly three servings.
And if you are thirsty, you can easily gulp down the whole can in one sitting. That means that you’re getting over 200 calories!
With 17 grams of sugar per serving, a person who finishes a can of Arizona Green Tea consumes roughly 50 grams of sugar.
How do the sugar and calories in Arizona Green Tea stack up against the recommended daily intake?
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends keeping daily added sugar intake below 36 grams for men. For women, the AHA recommends a daily added sugar intake below 32 grams.
So having just one can of Arizona Green Tea easily takes both men and women beyond the daily recommendation.
As I shared earlier, most sugar in Arizona Green Tea comes from high-fructose corn syrup instead of table sugar.
The reason why so many beverage and snack brands use high-fructose corn syrup instead of “real” sugar is because it’s both cheaper and sweeter than real sugar. That means that brands are able to give you a bigger, more addictive sugar rush for less money on their end.
The fact is that almost all iced teas contain caffeine. Green tea has some caffeine, so it’s quite clear that Arizona Green Tea is also caffeinated.
But how much caffeine does it have? Is it enough to give you an energy boost?
One 8 oz serving of Arizona Green Tea contains 7.5 mg of caffeine.
This is a very small amount so even if you drink a whole 23 oz can it’s unlikely to provide an energizing effect.
For comparison, an 8 oz serving of Coca-Cola has about 23 mg of caffeine and an 8 oz cup of coffee has about 120 mg of caffeine.
So far we have been focusing on the classic Arizona Green Tea. But Arizona also has other types of green tea drinks in their selection.
So let’s take a quick look at other options and if they are any healthier.
Below is a table with calorie and sugar content of different types of Arizona green tea drinks:
|Calories (8 oz serving)
|Sugar (8 oz serving)
|Cold Brew Green Tea
|Diet Green Tea
|less than 1 gram
Arizona Cold Brew Green Tea has slightly less calories and sugar compared to the regular one. One major difference is that instead of high-fructose corn syrup, regular cane sugar is used as a sweetener. So this might be a bit healthier option than the regular Arizona Green Tea.
Arizona Diet Green Tea is sweetened with sucralose and barely has any calories. Does this mean it’s better for you?
The research results on sucralose are somewhat mixed. While it doesn’t contain any calories or have a direct impact on blood sugar levels, there is no evidence that replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners would help with weight loss. Sucralose might even stimulate your appetite, making you eat more, and it may also increase inflammation in your body.
Arizona RX Energy has the most sugar of all of these green tea drinks. But an 8 oz serving also has about 88 mg of caffeine. So if you are looking for an energy boost, it’s the best option.
Why Too Much Arizona Green Tea Is Not Good for You
I want to dig just a little more into why drinking too much Arizona Green Tea might not be all that good for you.
Overall, the ingredient list isn’t bad. The high-fructose corn syrup is essentially the only ingredient that causes this drink to be unhealthy — it’s a double threat to your health because it contains both fructose and glucose.
High-fructose corn syrup is made from corn starch that’s comprised of glucose (simple molecules) joined together.
When corn starch is broken down into individual glucose molecules, you normally get 100% glucose. However, the process of making high-fructose corn syrup uses enzymes that convert some of the glucose to a second type of simple sugar called fructose.
When fructose is ingested in the form of added sugar, it can pose the following risks:
- Impaired composition of blood lipids that causes fat accumulation around organs.
- Fatty liver disease.
- Increased blood levels of uric acid.
- Insulin resistance and diabetes.
- Increased leptin resistance contributing to obesity.
In addition, consuming fructose can actually cause you to be less satisfied with what you’re eating.
Fructose doesn’t suppress the appetite to signal that you’re full the same way that glucose does. As a result, you may be more likely to overeat when consuming foods containing high-fructose corn syrup.
Is Arizona Green Tea Good for You – Final Thoughts
Is Arizona Green Tea the best thing you can drink for your health?
It’s definitely not. However, it’s also not the worst thing if consumed in moderation.
Aside from the high-fructose corn syrup, this could be a very healthy drink that provides benefits from green tea and orange honey. One bonus is that a 23 oz can of Arizona Green Tea gives you roughly 40% of your vitamin C for the day.
The takeaway is that there’s no shame in enjoying a can of Arizona Green Tea. However, drinking a can probably shouldn’t be a daily habit.
You can get most of the same benefits without consuming high-fructose corn syrup by adding some orange honey to your home-brewed green tea. I recommend that you check out my Kirkland green tea review for a healthier alternative.
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