Loaded teas are trending almost everywhere you look. There’s no doubt about it. The brightly colored drinks are now being sold out of tea shops and nutrition shops throughout the country, giving consumers a low calorie drink that’s meant to be incredibly good for them. But is loaded tea good for you?
Not only is loaded tea sugar free, but it also contains many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and uses plant-based ingredients to promote health. There’s often plenty of caffeine too, which helps make the drinks energizing and may even speed up your metabolism.
Plus, the drinks are using tea as a base ingredient and we know that tea offers many benefits. So then, is loaded tea good for you? Could it really be what’s needed to bring your health to an entirely new level or is it just an expensive and overhyped product?
Is Loaded Tea Good For You?
- What Is Loaded Tea?
- The Potential Benefits Of Loaded Tea
- The Serious Problems With Loaded Tea
- The Connection With Herbalife
- Can Loaded Tea Help You Lose Weight?
- Are Loaded Teas Healthy?
- Making Your Own Loaded Tea
- Final Thoughts
What Is Loaded Tea?
Loaded tea is a blended tea drink. It generally starts off with Herbalife Herbal Tea Concentrate and then has various other ingredients added to give you a bright drink that looks amazing in photos and often tastes pretty good too,
The appearance, flavor, and benefits can all vary depending on the ingredients used, giving you vastly different drinks. However, most versions tend to be low in calories, contain no sugar, rely on tea, and have plenty of healthy compounds, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant-based compounds.
There are countless claims surrounding loaded tea. The drinks are meant to increase your vitality, skin health, immune function, and provide clean energy.
The Potential Benefits Of Loaded Tea
Doesn’t Contain Sugar
Most versions of loaded tea avoid sugar entirely. You’re often just getting around 24 calories in the entire drink, which is pretty amazing, as loaded tea is often served in large cups.
The lack of sugar and low calorie content could be powerful. After all, sugar is linked to all kinds of health issues, including increased blood pressure, higher levels of inflammation, and a greater risk of type 2 diabetes.
A tasty sugar free drink is an easy way to start dropping your sugar intake down, as you’re still getting a beverage you enjoy.
Might Offer Some Benefits From The Tea
Tea is incredibly good for you. That’s undeniable.
Some of the benefits come from the fact that you’re enjoying a low calorie hot drink, but other benefits are related to compounds in the tea leaves. For example, tea is thought to help improve your immune system, decrease inflammation, and help with your blood sugar levels.
Most evidence for benefits comes from people who drink tea regularly. Less is known about using tea as an ingredient in other drinks. Still, loaded tea should contain most of the same compounds as hot tea, so some of the benefits are likely to carry through as well.
The hype around antioxidants can feel excessive at times, but antioxidants really are highly relevant. These plant-based compounds do exactly what their name implies, they help to decrease oxidation.
Now, oxidation itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s an essential biological process. Too much oxidation, however, can be dangerous. It can lead to damage to our cells and even DNA, sometimes increasing our risk of disease.
Our modern diets and lifestyles lead to plenty of oxidative stress, which we need to counter with antioxidants. You’ll be getting some antioxidants already. Fresh fruit and vegetables are particularly important sources. Other plant-based ingredients are relevant too.
Loaded tea is another source of these antioxidants. It could be useful if you’re not getting enough antioxidants otherwise or if you’re looking for more variety.
Benefits From The Caffeine
Caffeine is often seen as unhealthy, yet it can actually help you. It has been linked to improved mental functioning and memory. Caffeine could even decrease the risk of some health problems, including Alzheimer’s disease.
We can’t forget about the energy effect either. Caffeine can instantly increase alertness, making you feel more active and engaged. This is partly why so many of us start the day with coffee.
Loaded tea contains a decent amount of caffeine, sometimes twice as much as you get from a cup of coffee. It’s not surprising, then, that the drink is energizing and decreases fatigue. Having loaded tea towards the end of the work day might even be enough to perk you up and keep you going for as long as you need.
May Help With Hydration
Like regular tea, loaded tea tends to be mostly water. That’s good news, as water helps to protect our organs, lubricates our joints, carries nutrients, and has countless other roles. We need water; it’s as simple as that.
While the simplest solution is just to drink more water, many of us find flavored drinks much more enjoyable. Loaded teas are helpful in this sense, as they provide plenty of water, without many calories.
Caffeine rich drinks aren’t ideal for hydration, as caffeine does have a mild diuretic effect. Despite this, you’re still getting more liquid in the drink than you lose from the caffeine, so loaded tea will help to keep you hydrated.
There Could Be Extra Benefits
Such ingredients could easily be helpful. For example, collagen and biotin are both thought to help improve the appearance of your skin and hair. Aloe might help with your hair as well, while also providing other benefits.
The strength of these effects is difficult to predict, especially as recipes for loaded tea vary dramatically. It’s not even clear whether you’re getting enough of these extra compounds to influence your health much at all.
The Serious Problems With Loaded Tea
As you’ve probably guessed, loaded tea does have some concerning features.
Perhaps the biggest issue is the marketing. There’s so much talk about loaded tea being amazing, that it’s easy to simply believe the claims, rather than looking closely at what the tea actually offers.
There Are Side Effects
Some people experience considerable side effects from loaded tea, including high blood pressure, a racing heart, shakiness, and feeling lightheaded.
Most of these side effects come from the caffeine content. Remember how we said earlier that the caffeine in loaded tea can provide benefits? That’s true, but caffeine is a double-edged sword, it can cause serious harm too, especially if you’re very sensitive to it or are consuming a large amount.
Enter loaded tea.
Some versions of the tea contain somewhere from 175 mg to 200 mg of caffeine. That’s roughly the same as two cups of coffee. It’s a lot of caffeine to drink in one go.
The caffeine content isn’t obvious either, as loaded tea is marketed as being incredibly good for you. You might expect some caffeine in the drink, given that it’s meant to boost energy, but the large amount could easily take you by surprise.
This level of caffeine could even be dangerous. What if you were very sensitive to caffeine and consumed a full loaded tea? What if you had an underlying condition? What if you had already had a coffee or an energy drink recently?
Caffeine isn’t the only issue either. Many versions of loaded tea also contain stimulants like taurine and ginseng, the same ones found in energy drinks. Too much of these can easily cause side effects too, especially if you’re sensitive to them.
The same is true for the B vitamins found in loaded teas. While we need B vitamins to stay healthy, large amounts quickly become a problem. Infused teas won’t always disclose their B vitamin levels (much less where these B vitamins are sourced from).
Increases Reliance On Caffeine
Side effects aren’t the only reason to be cautious with caffeine. There are also concerns about the amount of caffeine we’re drinking, as this only seems to be increasing as time goes on.
There’s still much to learn, but large amounts of caffeine for years and years doesn’t seem wise at all. The problem is even worse if people are getting caffeine from multiple sources, as is often the case.
Indeed, many diet supplements now contain caffeine, so you could easily be consuming more than you realize.
The Health Claims Are Dubious
What about the health claims, then? Surely the antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds could improve your health?
Perhaps or perhaps not.
As we mentioned earlier, those compounds are all relevant to health. But this doesn’t mean you’ll see those benefits by getting more such compounds in your tea.
Take vitamins and minerals as an example. We know that these are vital to how our body functions. If you’re deficient in an essential nutrient, you’re likely to see a variety of side effects and perhaps some serious health issues.
Getting enough vitamins and minerals, then, is crucial for staying healthy. However, in most cases, going above the amount you need won’t help you at all (which is also why multivitamins aren’t as powerful as they first seem).
A similar pattern is true for antioxidants and other plant-based compounds. They’re only going to improve your health if you actually need them. If you’re already getting plenty of these compounds through your diet, as you should be, then loaded tea might not do anything for your health at all.
You Don’t Know What You’re Getting
Loaded tea can be made in countless ways, with a whole host of possible ingredients. Mixes of multivitamins, food coloring, plant extracts, fruit juice, supplement powders, and sweeteners are all possible ingredients. Most versions use tea somewhere in the mix, but even that isn’t guaranteed.
With so many different recipes, you never know exactly what you’re consuming. That’s never a good position to put yourself in.
There’s also the risk that some of the ingredients aren’t safe.
After all, the supplement industry isn’t well-regulated and many products are sourced from overseas. Supplements can easily end up contaminated with heavy metals or other chemicals that aren’t meant to be there.
This contamination is hard enough to avoid when you know exactly what you’re eating and drinking. Avoiding it is much more difficult when you don’t know what ingredients are in your drink or where they came from.
It’s tempting to say that loaded tea should be safe because the base ingredients often come from Herbalife, and Herbalife is a large company that should have quality control processes in place.
Some Ingredients Are Concerning
Even if the ingredients in your drink aren’t contaminated, they’re not always the best choice for your health.
For one thing, artificial colors are surprisingly common. You wouldn’t expect these to be included in a health drink, but artificial colors do give an almost neon brightness that you don’t get with natural flavors.
Remember too that these drinks tend to avoid sugar, which means they’re using an alternative sweetener. Sometimes a natural option like stevia might be used, but other versions rely on sucralose instead.
These ingredients aren’t ideal at all. While they’re officially viewed as safe, there are plenty of concerns about how they influence your health. They could easily cause subtle negative effects, like promoting inflammation or harming your gut bacteria.
The more often you consume ingredients like these, the higher the risk for problems.
Besides, wasn’t loaded tea meant to be healthy? Why does it use artificial additives at all?
The Number Of Ingredients
Loaded tea often uses an array of different ingredients, including various plant extracts, flavors, sweeteners, sources of vitamins, and more. Even if all the individual ingredients were safe and healthy on their own, they’re not necessarily safe when combined.
Indeed, the more ingredients used at the same time, the greater the risk of interactions. That’s not even counting the potential interactions between ingredients and medications that you might be taking or any underlying health conditions.
Such interactions are why it’s so important to keep an eye out for side effects.
To make matters worse, there are countless ways to make loaded teas. Stores may use different combinations of ingredients to create new and exciting flavors. Many of those combinations have never been tested for safety.
The Teas Are Expensive
Not only do loaded teas come with some concerning features, but they are also pretty expensive. You’re often looking at somewhere between $5 and $8 for a serving. That’s a lot for a single drink.
The Connection With Herbalife
There’s one other important area to talk about – Herbalife itself. While some people make their own loaded teas and independent stores have been experimenting with the idea, loaded tea mostly comes from Herbalife products.
In fact, many of the nutrition stores and tea shops that sell loaded teas are directly affiliated with Herbalife, often because the owners are Herbalife distributors.
This is a problem because Herbalife is seriously controversial. The company uses an MLM model to recruit people as distributors and get them to sell Herbalife products. While some distributors do make money, many others end up in debt.
There are also major concerns about the products themselves and the health claims made about them. Herbalife tends to use some pretty shaky science that often fails to prove the benefits of their products.
Even when they can prove some positive features, the same features can often be found in similar products or in natural foods. For example, many of the benefits of loaded tea come from the caffeine and water. So, why not just drink a cup of coffee?
Can Loaded Tea Help You Lose Weight?
Weight loss with loaded tea is one of the most popular claims. The teas are meant to boost your metabolism, give you energy, and help to keep you satisfied. They’re low in calories too, which is always appealing.
Do they help you lose weight though?
Well, yes, if you’re having a loaded tea instead of soda or fruit juice. Doing so would dramatically decrease your calorie intake and could easily lead to weight loss.
Otherwise, probably not. There’s little evidence that you get any boost to your metabolism beyond the slight increase that comes from caffeine. Loaded tea certainly isn’t likely to increase the rate you burn fat or make the pounds fall off.
Are Loaded Teas Healthy?
Let’s be honest. While loaded tea offers some benefits, the product is essentially an energy drink combined with a multivitamin.
You might see some benefits, including an energy boost and perhaps better athletic performance, but as with energy drinks, that initial buzz isn’t likely to last long.
What about the antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and the rest? Well, you should be getting plenty of these in your diet. If you’re not, then you’ll see more benefits from increasing your fruit and vegetable intake, rather than relying on loaded teas.
The most helpful feature of loaded tea is really that the drink is low in sugar. If you’re having it instead of something sugary, like soda, then you’re likely to see some health benefits. Of course, you’d get those same benefits by simply drinking water instead of soda.
Making Your Own Loaded Tea
If you want a healthy and tasty drink, why not try making your own version of loaded tea? Doing so allows you to choose the ingredients more carefully, maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risks in the process.
These recipes from Silver Lining Lessons are the most popular way of doing so. They give you a similar looking drink with many of the same benefits, for a fraction of the price. Nutrition Lunatic talks about a similar approach, highlighting the idea of finding a supplement to use as the base of your drink.
However, some of the same risks remain, as those recipes still give you a high caffeine product that relies on supplements.
You could also skip the supplement idea entirely and just make iced tea. That might seem like a cop-out, but honestly, tea and water are the most important ingredients in these products.
Drinking loaded tea every so often isn’t likely to cause serious harm. Even so, the products clearly aren’t as good as the marketing suggests.
They’re not going to make you lose weight on their own, nor will they have much impact on your immune system, your skin, or most other aspects of your health. The most likely effect is simply that you’ll get a burst of energy from the caffeine and stimulants, along with hydration from the water content.
As such, it’s best to see loaded tea as a treat – something to drink occasionally because you enjoy it.
The most important thing is to pay attention to your own body. If you start getting any side effects, like nervousness, difficulty sleeping, or nausea, it might be time to cut back on loaded tea. Perhaps you only have half the drink, then save the rest for later.