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Bottled and canned teas are hot these days, growing in sales even as soft-drink volume is fizzling. But while they enjoy a reputation as a healthful alternative to their carbonated cousins in the soft-drink aisle, they are, in fact, often nearly as calorie-laden.
Our latest tests found one notable exception, Honest Tea, which has one-half to one-third the calories of the others. It also lists calories per serving and per bottle on its label, something few other teas do.
Honest Tea is lower in calories for a simple reason: It contains less sugar. Of the sugar-sweetened teas we tested, those from Arizona, Lipton, Nestea, and Snapple generally had 80 to 100 calories per 8-ounce serving, comparable to what you'd find in an 8-ounce serving of Coke Classic. Because many teas come in 16- to 20-ounce bottles, however, you're likely to get considerably more calories from them than from a 12-ounce can of Coke.
POURING IT ON
If the tea makers tend not to play up caloric content, they aren't shy about extolling the other properties of their products. For example, Fuze Green Tea says on the label that it contains vitamins "essential for vision," which is good because you'll need super-keen eyes to read the fine print. Beneath the claim that an 18-ounce bottle "contains equal antioxidant capacity as [sic] 3 servings of vegetables," the small print notes that the product "is not a substitute for fruits and vegetables." In even smaller print, across from an eye-catching tutorial on the benefits of antioxidants, it acknowledges that "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration."
Other teas aren't as heavy on health claims as they are …