A variety of well-liked tea brands are cunningly using the ingredient “natural flavors” to trick the customers into thinking they are buying better and cleaner ingredients.
But, the truth is something else: companies are simply covering up the inferior taste and low or average quality of their “brand” tea. Fortunately, there are brands that put the kibosh on the use of natural flavors and use all real ingredients. So, we were delighted to learn that Ahmed Rahim, CEO of Numi Tea is just as disgusted by this ingredient as we are.
He said, “You can breakdown anything that is found in nature and if it ends up tasting like the flavor you wish to use – you can add it to any product and call it NATURAL FLAVOR on the ingredient label. It could come from a stone in the ground and you’d never know.”
This is why when you see the words “natural flavor” listed on a label – it is best to put the product down and just set off!
The added risk of consuming possible GMOs is not something most people think about when consuming their favorite teas. Before this investigation and witnessing tea companies using modified corn starch and soy lecithin in tea (additives likely made from genetically engineered corn and soy), we didn’t think about it either! We can’t imagine having a serious soy allergy, considering all the places companies try to hide it.
Most “conventional” tea brands including Allegro, Lipton, Celestial Seasonings, Tazo, Teavana, Bigelow, Republic of Tea, Twinings, Yogi, Tea Forte, Mighty Leaf, Trader Joe’s, Tetley contain really high levels of toxic substances such as fluoride and pesticides.
Pay attention: We are not talking about calcium fluoride which is a natural element, but about the synthetic fluoride which is a toxic byproduct.
These levels are dangerously high to the extent of being considered unsafe for human intake.
So, it seems that drinking cheap tea can be just as bad as eating junk food, doesn’t it?
Cheap tea bags can contain fluoride and pesticides
Since most non-organic tea plants are not washed before being dried, they contain pesticide residues. Some tea brands (even those asserted organic or pesticide free!) have recently been found to contain pesticides that are known carcinogens – in quantities above the US and the EU allowed limits!
The new study, published in the journal Food Research International, found that cheaper blends contain enough fluoride to put people under the risk of many illnesses such as: bone tooth, kidney problems and even malign tumors.
As a matter of fact, some brands of cheap tea contain nearly 7 parts per million (ppm) and the allowed level of fluoride is only 4 ppm. This is frightening since fluoride gets deeply into your bones and accumulates in your body. And it doesn’t flush out easily! On the contrary, it can stay there for years!
You likely wonder how fluoride got into tea in the first place, isn’t that right?
Well, the tea plant accumulates fluoride gradually as it grows. This means that older leaves contain the most fluoride. Low quality teas are often made from old leaves that contain more fluoride compared with young tea leaves. Additionally, these cheaper brands use smaller leaves which contain more fluoride.
What about decaffeinated tea?
For the truth’s sake, decaffeinated tea showed even higher fluoride levels than caffeinated tea. So, what is the solution to this problem? Should you cut drinking tea all together? No, not really!
- First of all, make sure you buy loose leaf tea and brew your tea from scratch. Bagged teas (though they might seem convenient and ‘ready to go’) are often made from low quality leaves which surely contain more fluoride.
- Stick to white tea because it has the least amount of fluoride.
- And buy organic tea because the methods for cultivation are more sophisticated and conscious. They might even use purified water for the soil.
Beware of paper tea bags too, which can be worse than plastic tea bags
Many paper tea bags have already been treated with epichlorohydrin, a compound mainly used in the production of epoxy resins. Epichlorohydrin is used as a pesticide and it is also considered a potential carcinogen by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
When epichlorohydrin comes in contact with water, it hydrolyzes to 3-MCPD, which has been shown to cause cancer in animals. It has also been linked to sterility (it has a spermatoxic effect in male rats) and suppressed immune function.
Antioxidant-rich teas aren’t going to do much to counterbalance the chemicals, additives and artificial flavorings in today’s modern teas, so here’s our advice for you:
First and foremost, we recommend checking the chart below to see how your favorite tea brand ranks.
Now, you probably understand that this table does not do the whole job. There is so much more to know when it comes to tea safety.
Since we have only “scratched” the surface here, please take time to check out Food Babe’s full report to get in-the-know on the subject. Also read their chart of the teas that came out with their reputations intact. It certainly is a good way to find your “cup of tea!”
PLEASE SHARE IT WITH YOUR TEA-LOVING FRIENDS AND FAMILY
Food Research International