Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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Almost no green tea in green tea sodas

Almost no green tea in green tea sodas
The quality of soft drinks containing green tea is so bad that you would have to drink up to 20 cans of some products to get the same amount of polyphenols as you get from one cup of ordinary tea. Remember? That hot drink you make by putting a tea bag in boiling water?

A chemist at Rutgers University, Shiming Li, presented his research findings a few months ago at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. Li went to the supermarket and bought bottles and cans containing green tea. He then used HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) to analyze how much polyphenols they contained.

At the meeting Li showed the analyses he had done for 6 green tea soft drinks. The 470 ml bottles contained 81, 43, 40, 13, 4 and 3 mg polyphenols. [Li analyzed 49 different soft drinks in total.] The total amount of polyphenols in a cup of tea varies between 50 and 150 mg.

"I was surprised at the low polyphenol content", says Li. "I didn't expect it to be at such a low level. Someone would have to drink bottle after bottle of these teas in some cases to receive health benefits."

When it comes to the health benefits of the green tea soft drinks, there are almost none, concludes Li. This is not just because they contain such small quantities of phenols, but also because the soft drinks are usually packed with sugar and therefore really fattening.

Li also works for WellGen a manufacturer of tea extracts, such as the anticatabolic Te Amé. Li's research results make it easier for WellGen to explain why athletes should buy their supplements instead of a can of Green Tea. "We believe that this research helps strengthen our own product offerings", it says in an article about Li's research on the WellGen website.

The reason that manufacturers put such small amounts of polyphenols in their soft drinks is their bitter taste. This puts consumers off, so the manufacturers tend to leave out the polyphenols. But because consumers are aware that polyphenols may have health benefits the manufacturers are keen to mention them on the label.

Their claims are so persuasive that the American FDA is quarrelling with tea producers Lipton and soft drinks manufacturer Dr Pepper. [ 09-Sep-2010] The manufacturers are trumpeting so loudly about the polyphenol content of their green tea products that the FDA says it will evaluate them as medicines and not as foods.

Much ado about nothing, is the verdict of the manufacturers' spokespeople. And this time we agree with them.

American Chemical Society August 22, 2010. [Ofline]

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