How sugar changes the composition of tea

September 17, 2015
Volume 12    |   Issue 38

If you've been a reader for long, you probably know that I'm a big fan of tea. You probably also know that I'm not a big fan of sugar. But a new study on how sugar and tea interact intrigued me so much that I decided to share it. Hopefully it will convince some of you non-tea-drinkers to give tea a try.

People who don't like tea often complain about its bitter flavor. I can't really argue with that. Tea is slightly bitter, especially if you steep it for too long. Sugar, of course, makes tea less bitter. You probably think that sugar works by masking the bitter flavor of the tea. I did too. And I definitely didn't want you dumping a bunch of sugar in your tea to try to outdo the bitter flavor.

But according to chemists at the York Structural Biology Laboratory at the University of York in England, this isn't how it works. Dr. Seishi Shimizu published the surprising findings in the journal Food and Function. You see, tea tastes more bitter when caffeine molecules are widely dispersed throughout the tea. Sugar doesn't mask this flavor. It actually makes the caffeine molecules clump together. That makes it harder for your taste buds to detect the bitter flavor.

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It doesn't take much sugar for this to happen. And we don't know if this hinders the health benefits of tea. But we know the sugar will raise your blood sugar. So diabetics need to beware.

While I still don't want you consuming more sugar than necessary, I do want you to reap the benefits of tea. So if the bitter flavor has been the deterrent for you, try a little honey (preferably wild, unprocessed) to make the tea more palatable. Just don't use a whole spoonful — this is tea, not medicine!

The tea I prefer is green tea. But it can be bitter as well. If green tea is not for you, try Green Tea Extract. It gives you the benefits — antioxidant, increased energy, anti-inflammatory — without any of the bitter taste.

Better Health and Living for Women,


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