These Are the Healthiest (and Unhealthiest) Bottled Tea Brands

Not all bottled tea brands take everything good and healthy about tea and put it into a bottle. The truth is, many bottled teas are just as unhealthy as soda and energy drinks. But you hear so much about tea’s antioxidant benefits that having the word “tea” on a bottle makes it hard to resist.

Here’s a short guide to the best and worst bottled teas you can buy based on how healthy (or unhealthy) they are.

Healthiest: Tejava

Peach ice tea

Peach iced tea | wmaster890/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus

  • Best: Tejava Unsweetened Original Black Tea

If you’re from the American South, sweet tea is the “only” tea. But when looking at bottled teas, the ones that come unsweetened are (unfortunately) the healthiest. Tejava is known for brewing unsweetened tea — and they’re pretty good at it.

The original black tea contains only two ingredients: water and tea leaves. No sugar, artificial sweeteners, or added flavors or colorings.

Tejava’s other bottled varieties — peach, raspberry, and mint — contain “natural flavors.” This basically means each flavor is derived from a plant source. If it were man-made, it would be an artificial flavor.

This doesn’t mean manufacturers don’t add other things to that original plant compound. But chances are good natural mint flavoring won’t hurt you.

Unhealthiest: Lipton

  • Worst: Green Iced Tea with fruit juice

The most frustrating and troubling thing about Lipton is their lack of transparency — especially online — when it comes to their beverages’ nutrition information and ingredients. Any nutrition information provided from sources other than the original is often unreliable or incomplete — which isn’t helpful for people genuinely searching for the amount of sugar or number of calories in a drink before they try it.

However, if user-provided information from sites such as MyFitnessPal are accurate, its sugar, calorie, and sodium content may not be worth it.

Lipton’s pear-and-peach flavored green tea contains fruit juice concentrate, which is just a fancy way to say “all the flavor without any nutrients, oh, and a bunch of sugar.”

However, not all of Lipton’s products are questionable. Their bottled teas and mixes might not be your best option, though.

Healthiest: Snapple

Snapple Tea

Snapple Tea | David Paul Morris/Getty Images

  • Best: Snapple Green Tea

Each of Snapple’s teas ranges from 120 to 160 calories and between 30 and 50 grams of sugarper bottle.

You can eliminate these calories and sugar if you go with a diet version of any of Snapple’s bottled tea flavors. But that depends on how you feel about artificial sweeteners such as aspartame.

There’s conflicting evidence about whether or not these sweeteners cause serious health problems, but if you’d rather not risk it, some extra calories and sugar might not hurt. If you stick to a bottle a day or less, that is.

Unhealthiest: AriZona

  • Worst: AriZona Sweet Tea

Some brands can make flavored teas without too many added or artificial ingredients, but AriZona is not one of them. Even their green teas are closer to fruit juice in terms of nutritional quality — or lack thereof.

Research has shown that consuming large amounts of added sugars such as high fructose corn syrup — a key ingredient in AriZona’s sweet tea variety — can lead to weight gain and related health problems. Sugar has calories, and too many calories never turns out in your favor.

Healthiest: Honest Tea

  • Best: Unsweet Lemon Tea

Similar to Snapple, Honest Tea’s bottled drinks are relatively low in sugar compared to many other flavored drinks on the market. Their flavored sweet teas are all lower in calories than Snapple’s, but their unsweet (unsweetened) lemon tea wins the prize at zero sugar or calories with no added sweeteners.

An added bonus — their ingredients are fair trade and certified organic. If that’s something that matters to you when choosing drink options like coffee or tea, take that into consideration when choosing a flavor from Honest Tea.