Tea Myths: What You Might Need To Unlearn

We're big tea drinkers, so yesterday's Chicago Tribune got our attention with a list of nine things to "unlearn" about the stuff. For instance, there might be some good news for those of you who like to add milk, but not-so-good news for anyone drinking green tea to slim down.

Which myths were busted? Read on to find out.

Tribune columnist Julie Deardorff reported that tea sales in this country are expected to double over the next five years, due in part to potential health benefits. But the extent of those benefits is a source of some confusion and debate.

According to Jeffrey Blumberg, head of the the Antioxidants Research Laboratory at Tufts University, adding milk to tea might remove any health benefits. But then again, it might not. Only one study has produced such results, and they haven't yet been replicated.

Results are also mixed about the fat oxidation powers of green tea, containing caffeine and EGCG, and any minimal metabolism-boosting effects would be wiped out by as little as "half an Oreo," Blumberg said. But as we mentioned last month, drinking tea is still a great alternative to snacking – the tea itself is calorie-free.

Other revelations? Camellia sinensis is the only plant that produces tea leaves, and any variations are created through its processing. Herbal teas, as Elizabeth mentioned last year, are not teas at all, and are more correctly known as "tisanes." Rooibos tea is not even made from a leaf, but a seed from a bush grown in South Africa.

Check out the Deardorff's column for the full list of tea myths.

Related: Good Question: How Can I Find Good Decaffeinated Tea?

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