An illustration of two cups of loaded teas
Some people have adopted loaded teas as a low-calorie alternative to coffee and other teas. (Illustration by Julie Chow, University of California, Berkeley)

Are Loaded Teas Beneficial or Dangerous for Your Health?

These trendy drinks contain caffeine and healthy vitamins, but the high quantities of some ingredients have many people worried about the side effects.

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An illustration of two cups of loaded teas

These trendy drinks contain caffeine and healthy vitamins, but the high quantities of some ingredients have many people worried about the side effects.

Shops devoted to selling loaded teas have been sprouting up at every corner across the U.S. over the past few years. Many cities and college towns have three or more stores within just a few miles of each other. Loaded teas have many benefits and attractions — why has this trend of nutritious drinks become so popular in recent years?

What Is a Loaded Tea?

In a Today article called “Are loaded teas healthy?” Vidya Rao explains, “Loaded teas are beverages that feature a cocktail of supplements with a range of purported health benefits, from performance enhancement and mental clarity to a metabolism boost and hunger suppression.” To state it more simply, a loaded tea is a drink that possesses some form of health benefit.

They come in a variety of flavors, from pixie dust to cactus to unicorn, and they are sold in an even wider assortment of vibrant colors. But what are these drinks actually made of? Shops offer their customers various combinations that each have a different recipe, although the dominant ingredients of water, tea concentrate, sugar-free syrups, juices, vitamins and energy boosters like caffeine remain relatively consistent.

What Are the Loaded Tea Benefits?

There are numerous benefits to be found in these popular nutrition drinks. Loaded teas are especially enticing for health gurus because they are low in calories. Thus, you can enjoy a delicious, colorful drink without stressing the additional calories found in soft drinks and coffee. The low-calorie count can help you achieve fitness goals and lose weight.

Another benefit of this nutrient-filled tea is the high count of vitamins and antioxidants it is “loaded” with to help your body fight off sickness and disease. Each drink includes different vitamins. This variety allows you to be intentional about ensuring that your body has the particular vitamins your diet might be lacking. A tea-drinking habit is also good for your body because it can contribute to hydration, especially for those who don’t regularly drink enough water.

One of the most attractive features of these nutritious drinks — and arguably the most noticeable — is the energy boost they provide. Many people drink loaded teas for the caffeine. After all, most loaded teas offer approximately 175 to 200 milligrams of caffeine each, according to dietician Bonnie Taub-Dix. These average caffeine quantities surpass a cup of “normal” tea or coffee by over 100 milligrams. It’s clear why people are drawn to loaded teas as a new kind of healthy energy drink.

Mary Cate Wright’s article “Loaded teas: Are they worth the hype?” describes even more advantages of the loaded teas. She discusses how the ingredients serve to control hunger, enhance mental focus and help with digestion. Some of the ingredients, she argues, even strengthen your hair and nails. These nutrition drinks can provide a multitude of health benefits, both emotionally and physically. However, do the dangers outweigh the benefits?

What Are the Dangers?

An article by Amanda Capritto of CNET, called “The dangers of loaded teas, takes a closer look at the quantity of caffeine “loaded” into the drinks and calls into question the potential dangers of drinking too much caffeine. “Scary anecdotes about extreme jitters, high blood pressure, flushed skin and other symptoms that occur after drinking loaded teas have bubbled to the surface on social media,” she writes. Capritto argues that the health benefits are too good to be true. At what unknown cost are ignorant consumers losing weight if the supplements negatively affect their bodies in other ways?

At Honestly Yours, Shannon Ashley warns against the mysterious, cryptic unknowns of these “healthy” drinks in the article “Loaded Teas and Shakes Are a Triumph of Marketing, But They May Be Dangerous.” Ashley writes of her own personal health journey and her experience with nutrition shops. She explains that when it comes to the ingredients in loaded teas, ignorance is not bliss — in fact, it’s dangerous. She relays the extreme difficulty of trying to get nutrition clubs and shops to list the ingredients in the drinks, which she insinuates is odd and concerning.

Hannah Frishberg, too, agrees with the problems of loaded teas. She introduces her article “What is a loaded tea and will it land you in the emergency room?” by stating, “This trendy, photogenic beverage comes with the promise of weight loss, health and happiness, yet is bringing many drinkers far more pain than gain.”

Frishberg stresses the high quantity of the ingredients as to why loaded teas can be dangerous. She also highlights the number of unknowns as potentially potent and something to be leery of, from the poorly labeled ingredients to the lack of FDA approval. The National Center for Complementary and Integrated Health (NCCIH) places an emphasis on the dangers of excessive amounts of caffeine in particular. In an article that expresses the danger of caffeine-filled drinks, the NCCIH claims that too much caffeine can lead to serious heart and blood vessel problems, increased anxiety and disrupted sleep.

Clearly, there is much controversy as to whether the benefits of loaded teas can overcome the potential dangers they serve. As these nutritious drinks continue to trend, the public will be faced with deciding which side of this complex argument they stand on. Nevertheless, it’s up to you to decide: Are the rewards of loaded teas worth the risk? Will you endanger your body in hopes of reaping the benefits loaded teas can give you, from increased hydration to weight loss? Or are the possible costs too high to bear?

Writer Profile

Julianna Steen

Auburn University
English Literature, minoring in History

A few of my favorite things include reading romance novels, watching action movies, baking (and consuming) anything chocolate, creating for my business, He is Simply Goodness, and going on adventures with friends and family!

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