Is Sweet Tea Better Than Soda? A Healthy Guide!

 by Dr. Steve Hruby
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby

I am a chiropractor, father, husband, coach, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker. Feeling good about yourself is a choice: My mission is to transform lives through optimized health and overall well-being.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’ve been called a Data Ninja, The Fact Checker, and a Human Search Engine. I’m an indie content curator who does research daily, and quizzes myself on the important issues of the day.

is sweet tea better than soda

Sweet tea and soda are two beverages that are neither particularly healthy but are popular among people of all ages. Given all the campaigns aimed at reducing the intake of both commodities, shoppers may wonder, “Is sweet tea better than soda?”

Sweet tea is slightly superior to soda. The major drawback of both sweet tea and soda is their excessive sugar content, which can negatively impact various health concerns, such as cardiovascular disease. Sweet tea typically contains less sugar and fewer calories. On the other hand, soda contains carbon dioxide, which can cause severe stomach bloating.

However, both drinks are notorious for being highly addictive. We have thoroughly compared sweat tea and soda to help you learn about the two beverages. 

Soda vs. Sweet Tea

Round 1 – Flavor

When it comes to flavor, sweet tea and soda are diametrically opposed. Sweet tea has a delicate flavor. The sugar hits you immediately, and it ordinarily has a flowery flavor that tastes like peach, blue fruits, lemon, etc. Furthermore, sweet tea is considered a soft drink because of its low acidity.

On the other hand, soda is a stronger beverage due to the presence of carbon dioxide gas. It has a similar taste to any carbonated drink. Soda is far more acidic than sweet tea, causing you to get a bitter taste.

Round 2 – Uses

Each commodity has a unique method of consumption. While both may be ingested to hydrate yourself during summertime, they’re quite distinct.

iced tea with lemon and lime slices

Soda works well in alcoholic cocktails. Another time when soda is consumed is when eating fast food. 

Sweet tea, on the contrary, is too high in sugar to be ingested with salty food and doesn’t achieve the optimal alignment. Instead, pair sweet tea with a fruit salad or pastries such as chocolate muffins, cookies, etc.

Round 3 – Calories

In terms of key nutrients, both sugar and carbohydrates are particularly prevalent in the two beverages. Soda contains two more grams of carbohydrates and 2.5 grams of sugar per 100 ml than sweet tea.

Ultimately, soda has 42 kcal further than sweet tea, which has 31 kcal. Please keep in mind that the components of sweet tea are cane sugar, freshly brewed tea, and water. You could opt for a diet coke instead. Regular soda contains empty calories with no nutritional value. Because Diet Coke has fewer calories, it may be a better choice. However, if you are cautious about what you take, you might want to confirm is diet Coke vegan

Aside from the ingredients listed, soda contains additional preservatives that render it unhealthy. It’s not suitable for everyday consumption. 

Round 4 – Sugar Levels

The sugar content of soda and sweet tea is the most crucial factor. Unfortunately, in our daily lives, we are unaware of how much sugar we consume and its effect on our health as we age.

As a result, it’s prudent to be aware of and verify the sugar content of beverages and packaged food purchased at grocery stores. For example, in soda, we consume 9.95 grams of sugar per 100 grams. Sweet tea also contains only 7.5 grams of sugar. However, those amounts are less than the recommended sugar content for a day.

Round 5 – Caffeine

Does unsweet tea have caffeine? You might be surprised to learn that sweet tea and soda contain caffeine. However, caffeine in sweet tea and soda doesn’t exert the same influence as coffee and is utilized more to boost flavor and texture.

Soda has a higher caffeine content. However, caffeine levels differ from one product to the next, especially in creme soda. If you’re wondering, does barq’s red creme soda have caffeine? Well, the product has no caffeine content. 

Round 6 – Popularity

Soda comprises an extensive group of popular beverages such as Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, and Pepsi. The billions in revenue generated by the sale of those beverages demonstrate the prominence of soda.

person in front of a computer monitor drinking soda

Individuals have opted for healthier alternatives over the past decade due to decent food awareness, and soda intake has declined. 

Sweet tea consumption is difficult to quantify because tea is the most consumed drink in the world after water. However, customers value fresh and organic tea over sweet tea. Furthermore, a sizable proportion prefers to drink tea without sugar.

Round 7 – Health Advantages

With all of the drawbacks of soda, tea appears to be a better option and can be flavored. Tea is a naturally occurring substance that retains your hydration levels while also being low in calories. 

It also contains flavonoids, which are antioxidant-rich compounds. Flavonoids can neutralize free radicals, which cause the body’s inflammation and lead to long-term illnesses.

According to a study published in Nutrition Research, tea consumption may also lower your likelihood of developing osteoporosis. Tea consumption regularly may greatly increase bone mineral density.

Round 8 – Health Dangers

Since both sweet tea and soda have comparable calorie and added sugar contents, comparing the effects of both drinks on health is pointless.

Your chance of becoming obese is significantly increased by SSB use, per research reported in Obesity Facts. The scientists advise public health initiatives to discourage the consumption of these beverages and promote healthier alternatives like water.

A meta-analysis published by the journal BMC Obesity revealed “credible indications” that sugar-sweetened beverages, especially those marketed to children, promote tooth decay, raise the risk of insulin resistance, and have negative consequences associated with caffeine.

Is sweet tea unhealthy? Drinks with added sugar, such as soda, and sweet tea, increase the probability of cardiometabolic diseases like hypertension. Overconsumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with high blood pressure and other common risk factors for cardiovascular factors

How to Make Tea Taste Better Than Soda

Consider these six suggestions to enhance the flavor of your tea.

homemade iced tea in pitcher and glass with sliced lemons
  1. Alternatives. Choose teas with naturally sweet ingredients to satisfy your sugar cravings. They include dried pineapple, apple, coconut, and cocoa or cacao nibs.
  2. Tea mocktail. Several mocktail recipes that call for fresh ingredients can use tea. To satisfy your craving for carbonation, think about using sparkling water.
  3. Choose whole-leaf tea over broken-leaf tea. A more pleasant experience can be had by drinking tea prepared from entire leaves since it has more amino acids and a sweeter, richer flavor.
  4. Research the tea and the proper way to brew it. Determine your distributor and the source of the tea. Use filtered or purified water, and pay attention to the required temperatures and steeping time. The ideal cup of tea is brewed by considering each of these elements.
  5. Use a lightly refined sweetener if you must add one. Consider using local raw honey, coconut sugar, stevia leaves, date sugar, or other natural sweetening options.
  6. Enjoy it as an iced tea or cold-brewed beverage. Tea can be enjoyed both warm and cold. Is iced tea better for you than diet soda? Yes. Diet drinks provide no nutritional value. Swapping to iced tea with antioxidant nutrients can help your health.

Other Drinks to Try That Are Healthier

Is it better to drink tea or soda? Most likely, but neither should constitute your go-to beverage because soda and sweet tea have undesirable impacts. Simply put on whether a tea is a good alternative to soda, there are some other more worthwhile choices, such as: 

1. Juices

Consider drinking fresh fruit juices instead of soda or sweet tea. This will give you extra vitamins and nutrients while also aiding in the cessation of your soda consumption.

2. Sparkling Water

If you can’t resist the effervescent, you might want to swap to sparkling or carbonated water. Sparkling water resembles regular soda in several respects since it contains water and carbon dioxide. You may now buy sparkling water with lemon juice added or extract some yourself to improve the flavor.

3. Soy Beverages

Today, soy beverages are offered in various flavors, such as vanilla and almond, and are increasingly gaining popularity. To reap the greatest advantages, choose low-fat, unsweetened soy beverage options.

Does Sweet Tea Have More Sugar Than Soda FAQs

cold iced tea with lemon on a block of ice

Is Sweet Tea Better for Your Teeth Than Soda? 

Beverages with high acid content can weaken teeth and turn them yellow, among other dental issues. Although these issues begin to arise at a pH of 5.5, drinks like soda and sweet tea have a pH range of 2.5 to 5.2. Since acidity increases with decreasing pH, soda and sweet tea are harmful in this situation.

Is Sweet Tea Good for Weight Loss?

Yes. Tea has catechins, a flavonoid category that may help with the breakdown of fats and the body’s metabolic activity. Furthermore, the caffeine in several teas increases energy expenditure, which increases calorie burning. The mixture of these two ingredients enables any fat loss that may occur.

What Happens When You Give up Soda?

The body will stay sufficiently hydrated and experience minimal inflammation after you quit drinking soda. Instead of soda, choose water and other nutritious beverages to boost your metabolism, strengthen your heart, and perhaps shed a few pounds.

Conclusion: Which Is Better?

The question “is tea healthier than soda” lacks a definite response. It relies on your dietary requirements and individual preferences. When you analyze sodas and sweet tea’s calorie and sugar content, they’re both equally unhealthy. One distinction is that black tea leaves are used to make sweet tea.

Numerous bioactive substances found in black tea leaves, including polyphenols, amino acids, volatile chemicals, and alkaloids, have a variety of interesting pharmacological activities. 

Black tea’s potent antioxidant properties prevent the growth of several malignancies by controlling oxidative stress to biomolecules, endogenous antioxidants, mutagen pathways, and transcription of the antioxidant gene pool. You must still pay attention to the sweet tea’s sugar content.

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