Do You Put Sugar in Green Tea? When to Add Sugar, the Effects!


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As a tea connoisseur, I’ve had green tea both with sugar and without sugar. Getting used to the flavor without sugar took some time, but after a while, I was pleased I did. So the question then, is do you put sugar in green tea?

I’ll provide the definitive answer In this article, along with the reasons why – and the alternatives. But first, here’s the quick takeaway answer.

Do you put sugar in green tea? Sugar is optional for a more palatable flavor and for quick absorption of Catechin, but traditionally you would not put sugar in green tea. If you take green tea for its delicate flavor, an aid to weight loss, or to manage blood sugar and you do add sugar, then it may affect the expected results.

So it’s optional then, but should you put sugar in green tea? Let’s examine this further, starting with the fact that you can … and why!

You can put sugar in green tea 

You can add sugar to your green tea just as much as you would with any other beverage, and of course, it’s completely your choice whether to put sugar into any type of tea, green or otherwise.

Green tea is traditionally drunk without sugar, or any type of sweetener.

Putting sugar in your cup of green tea will not take away all of its health benefits, but it may increase the calorie content per cup – depending on what type of sweetener you choose.

Perhaps the real question should be, will adding sugar to your green tea serve your goal …or purpose.

As you probably know, green tea is popular for its unique flavor and variety of health benefits and is widely consumed.

So depending on what you’re having green tea for, whether or not you should add sugar can vary. 

do you put sugar in green tea

When not to add sugar to green tea

Below is a breakdown of 3 occasions for which you should not put sugar in your cup of green tea.

1. If you want to enjoy the delicate flavor of green tea

Green tea is famous for its delicate processing and its resulting delicate flavor. So if you want to have green tea for the amazing flavor everyone talks about, then do not add sugar. 

Adding sugar will potentially “overpower” the natural robust flavor of green tea. And aside from this, green tea is somewhat naturally sweet, so adding sugar will overshadow the naturally sweet tones the tea offers you. 

For some, the flavor of green tea may seem off-putting at first. If the flavor is an issue for you, try to drink it gradually for a few days to a week, and you’ll get used to the flavor. And I hope – eventually come to appreciate it.

New to green tea flavor

If you’re new to tea drinking, then it might help to ease into the subject. Check my Best teas for beginner’s article for a great place to start.

Note – Many complain about not liking the flavor of green tea and this can often be when green tea is not brewed correctly. Here’s the guide on how to make green tea.

As I mentioned earlier, green tea is delicate and sensitive. So minor variations in how it should be made, such as using very hot water, steeping for too long, using the wrong water, or the incorrect tea-to-water ratio, can easily spoil its unique flavor.

Make sure you read the instructions given behind the packaging for a perfect brew. Then read on below…

If you’re new to tea making but want to get more involved with it for personal enjoyment or to enjoy with family or friends, then consider my easy to follow Tea Sommelier Course.

It’s perfect for those who may not want to go for formal qualifications, but who want to enhance their tea skills – or to learn more about tea before taking it to a professional level! 

2. If you take green tea for weight loss

Green tea is popular for weight loss, more so than for its flavor in recent times.

So if you’re taking green tea for weight loss, then its best to avoid adding sugar into your green tea.

However, it fair to say that if you want to lose weight with any drink, then do not add sugar anyway, and those who are dieting veterans will doubtless already be aware of the extra calories this can add – certainly when using sugar cane sugar. 

Green tea is rich in caffeine and antioxidants. These rich elements combined with a clean diet and a cardio routine can work miracles in your weight loss journey. 

Simply put, when you put sugar in, it simply adds up the calories.

Sugar is an ongoing culprit for weight gain and obesity. 

Even if you add one teaspoon of sugar to a cup of green tea, it adds up to around 16 calories per cup – depending on how big your spoonful is!

Now assume you take 4-5 cups of green tea with sugar daily. This could total to a good amount of calories – excluding the other things you eat/drink.

This amount of calories can make a dent in any weight loss regime. So with regard to sweetening your green tea, perhaps it’s a good thing that sugar is optional.

Along with this, find out how many cups of tea you can drink per day – based on which variety!

3. If your taking green tea for managing blood sugar

In recent times green tea has gained popularity for managing diabetes and for reducing blood sugar levels.

In a study, around 63 people suffering from type 2 diabetes were tested with green tea, to measure its effects on diabetes management. Findings from the study were published in the journal of Research in Medical Sciences.

Surprisingly, the researchers concluded that 4 cups of green tea per day helped in lowering blood sugar levels.

It also supported lowering blood pressure levels and weight loss in diabetes patients.

So if you’re taking green tea for diabetes management, avoid putting sugar into your green tea at all costs.

Sweetening green tea helps to absorb compounds

Regardless of whether you put sugar in your green tea, sugar in green tea does not negate its health properties.

Occasional studies look to measure and understand the impact of the benefits for putting sugar into green.

One such study published by Food research international, has concluded that adding sugar to green tea serves a benefit. 

Mario Ferruzzi, lead researcher and associate professor of food science and nutrition at Purdue University, concludes that “adding ascorbic acid like a lemon to green tea would increase the absorbability of Catechins found in the tea”.

Affects on Catechins

Catechins are a naturally occurring plant compound in tea, grapes, and cocoa.

They fall into the class of antioxidants which helps in fighting several health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart diseases, and other health related issues. 

The above study aimed to “…investigate the impact of common food ingredients on catechin absorption. Green tea extract (50 mg), was formulated plain, with sucrose, with ascorbic acid, and with sucrose and ascorbic acid”.

The research extends to say that adding ascorbic acid and sucrose (sugar) can increase the green tea’s absorbability of Catechins by three times more than how much Catechins can be absorbed by the bloodstream.

In other words, putting sugar into green tea can increase the body’s ability to absorb health compounds quicker, making it easier to fight health problems.

Perhaps one option from this study means that if you want to put sugar into your green tea and not lemon. Try having a cup of any citrus juice along with your green tea.

“…But Michael, I really really want sugar in my green tea!”

Ok so if you really do want sugar in your green tea, here’s what you can do…

Alternative ways to sweeten green tea

  • Put honey or stevia instead of sugar. Honey still may have some calories but is healthier than sugar. Stevia is a natural sweetener like honey, but has no calories and is 200 times sweeter than sugar itself. It gives the same concentration as sugar and also has the potential for treating obesity and diabetes. 
  • Never steep green tea for more than 3-4 minutes. This will result in a higher level of bitterness, which may be even less palatable. If 3-4 minutes offers a strong flavor for you, you can always reduce it, but never exceed 4 minutes. 
  • You can always add a splash of juice, such as lemon, orange, bergamot, or even apple juice for natural sweetness and an extra twist on the flavor. 
  • Add fresh mint to your green tea to take the bitter taste out. This is better if brewed cold as an iced green tea with mint. This method offers a sweet and refreshing flavor.
  • If you want to add sugar to make it more flavorful, try flavored green tea – there are plenty of flavored green tea available easily through Amazon.
honey to sweeten green tea
honey can sweeten green tea

To finish

I hope this has provided some help on the question “do you put sugar in green tea”. For me, the answer is no. But we all have personal tastes, and there’s nothing that says you have to stick to one! Try a few things out and see what works best for your taste buds!

I’m often asked if you can add milk to green tea? Along with, does green tea stains your teeth!

And don’t forget to enhance your tea skills with my super Tea Sommelier Course! Also, check my tea-wares page for more tea recommendations!

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