‘Healthy’ Tea Takes its Lumps
Dear Brand Doctor,
How do you rate FUZE green tea? It has honey and ginseng and is very refreshing. But will it really make me healthier?
Thanks for your inquiry! Designer beverages are all the rage. Manufacturers make a lot of big promises – as is the case with FUZE products, made by soft drink giant Coca-Cola.
They say their vitamin and herb-infused drinks boost health, suppress your appetite, and give you extra energy. We say: PROCEED WITH CAUTION. Some of the claims are simply too hard to swallow!
For instance, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is urging the FDA to take enforcement action against FUZE product claims that state the beverages will help you avoid cancer, heart disease, colds, flu and infections of the lungs and kidneys.
“FUZE drinks won’t do anything for your kidneys, your lungs, or your heart; nor will they lower your cholesterol or prevent you from catching a cold,” says CSPI senior nutritionist David Schardt. “FUZE quacks like a duck, and the FDA should be shooting these wacky claims out of the sky.”
While the FDA mulls over CSPI’s accusations, FUZE products remain on store shelves. Enter the BrandAid food sleuths. Our crack investigators are teeing off on FUZE Green Tea. They drank in the ingredients label and spit out this review:
Healthy Food Imposter
FUZE Green Tea
Ingredients: Filtered water, crystalline fructose, honey, green tea extract (polyphenols), citric acid, ascorbic (C), green tea solids, vitamin E acetate, niacin (B3), calcium pantothenate, Siberian ginseng root extract, pyridoxine, hydrochloride (B6), folic acid, cyanocobalamin (B12)
Serving size: 8 fl oz; calories 60; total fat 0g; sodium 0mg; total carbs 16g; sugars 16g; vitamin C 50%; vitamin E 50%; folic acid 25%; niacin (B3) 50%; vitamin B5 50%; vitamin B6 50%; vitamin B12 50%
The first three ingredients are water, crystalline fructose (code for sugar) and honey. Keep in mind that the majority of most food products are made up of the first few ingredients.
Since the drink is named FUZE Green Tea, shouldn‘t green tea appear among the top three ingredients? Apparently not. Read further along, and there in the fourth and sixth ingredients you’ll find green tea extract and green tea solids. Down near the end you’ll find Siberian ginseng root extract. This means that there are probably miniscule amounts of the stuff in your drink.
The added vitamins listed on the ingredients list are pretty much what you’d get in a multi-vitamin, or from other fortified foods. Keep in mind that it’s NOT beneficial to overload on vitamins if you’re already getting them from other sources.
Bottom line: This “tea” is comprised mainly of water, sugar and a dash of green tea. Couple that with the potentially false label claims, and we have no choice but to declare this a Healthy Food Imposter!
We hate to burst your bubble but there really isn’t a magic bullet for better health. You should be getting your nutrition from unprocessed, whole foods – not from flavored, sugary drinks that add vitamins and minerals to the mix.
Advice That Fits You to a Tea
If you’re looking for a truly healthy green tea drink, you might consider making your own. It doesn’t take a scientist to boil some water, toss in a few bags of flavored green tea, add a bit of all-natural honey for sweetening and extra flavor, and chill. You’ll get the nutritional benefits without the added sugar…for a lot less money than FUZE, or any other trendy drink product!
Remember, when you’re armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you’re in control at the grocery store.