People with only a rudimentary understanding of how nutrition and fitness work might be pretty vocal about their answer to ‘is sweet tea better than soda’. The answer might be yes, and to an extent, that is true. In the battle of healthiness, sweet tea vs soda, sweet tea will come out as a winner most of the time, even when asked by a nutritionist. And that is because, objectively, sweet tea is healthier than a soda.

But how healthy is it, really? After all, sweet does imply the addition of sugar in it, and that might get a bit problematic. Is sweet tea really good for you? Lets take a look at the evidence, and expound on the many virtues (both negative and positive) of sweet tea, especially when placed in comparison with soda, public enemy number 1 in the war on obesity. 

You might notice that this is a rather strange match-up. Sweet tea vs soda. Really? Soda against sugar-free drinks or sweet tea against green tea might have been a better match-up. Throw coffee in the equation and this match could’ve been even more better. But apparently, since we have to first justify this sweet tea vs soda debate, lets get into it. 

Why Compare Sweet Tea and Soda?

Looking at the beverage popularity and consumption figures in the States, and you can get a pretty clear view of what people like to drink, and what the whole country is really drinking now. We’re not talking about the morning joe; no, no Starbucks latte frappucino crap here. We’re talking the kind of recreational beverage that a person drinks to kick back, relax and marvel the wonders of modern flavour-making. And it is in these categories do we find the two leaders:

Sweet tea, which is rapidly catching on as Americans turn more and more towards alternative drinks to coffee (including that weird boba tea), and soda, the historic drink of the Americas. You know, Coke, Pepsi, Sprite, 7Up, Fanta, Dr Pepper and countless other drinks that we see stocked on shelves by the dozen.

And that is really the reason why we choose to compare sweet tea and soda: these are two of the most popular drinks among specific demographics, and we want to know which is more healthier: the answer to which is apparently, already out there. 

Is Sweet Tea Better Than Soda?

In terms of the indicators of a product’s healthiness, like sugar, caffeine and other assorted substances, we can objectively say that yes, sweet tea is a better option than soda. Sweet tea, considering its natural and organic basis, has marginally less amount of sugar, calories and obviously caffeine.

Sugar in this case is really subjective; as sweet tea doesn’t come pre-packaged or with explicit instructions to only put in a cube or two, its really down to personal preference, how much sugar you usually consume, and whether you like your beverages sweet or not. However, with that being said, many sources actually look towards both sweet tea and sodas as being equally guilty of getting obesity so rampant in the country.

The main suspect, again, being sugar, and the havoc it wreaks on the health of many people every year. In this context, no, sweet tea is no better than any soda out there, even Fanta in this regard (which has the highest sugar concentration of all sodas). But the facts are there, and they are irrefutable. According to a study that compared sweet teas and sodas and looked for difference in both sugar and calories, the result was a pretty clear indicator of the answer to the above-mentioned question of comparing sweet tea and soda.

Where a soda contains 40+ grams of sugar per serving, the same amount of sweet tea had around 33 grams of sugar, which is a considerable difference in sugar concentration, and subsequently translates into less calories for the person who is drinking sweet tea. The difference in calories is even more wide, and is a big part of the reason why we assume that sweet tea is better than soda. 

Sugar Content: Sweet Tea vs Soda

As mentioned beforehand, sugar content in both sweet tea and soda varies; quite so much, that you might think that all that bickering about on this topic would be quite useless. For instance, a 12-ounce standard serving of a regular soda (not diet one) contained about 41 grams of sugar, equating to about 150 calories; whereas sweet tea of the same serving got you 32 grams of sugar and subsequently a drop in calories was observed: about 120. That’s the entirety of the debate for you, right here. 

Caffeine and Calories: Sweet Tea vs Soda

Caffeine is the one place where the equation is actually reversed, but this time, ironically, in the favour of sodas. We know, how can teas beat sodas in caffeine comparison? We literally have drinks like Red Bull and Mountain Dew which contain a whole lot of caffeine, but here’s the kicker: teas are among some of the high-caffeine content plants out there, second only to the coffee bean.

Also Read: Is Chex Mix Healthy? We Take a Look

So, with this information in mind, you can draw a picture of how caffeine stacks up in the comparison between sweet tea and soda; an 8-ounce serving of Classic Coke will run you 22 milligrams of caffeine, whereas the same serving of sweet iced tea will get you 47 milligrams: that’s more than the double. And that is because the caffeine in tea is naturally-occurring, and is a constituent of the tea plant. Whereas in drinks like Coke and Fanta, it is added to give them a refreshing and jolting kick. 

As for calories, the math is again pretty simple, and favours sweet teas. 150 calories for a single serving of Coke, whereas 120 for the same amount of sweet tea. Your choice to make now.

Health Effect: Sweet Tea vs Soda

The health effect is actually a doozy. In the short time, you can see the benefits: sweet tea, with its lower sugar content, lower calorie count will always be the healthier choice. You get the same amount of refreshing drink, but with less calories and sugars? That is a pretty sweet deal. However, and here’s the thing that equalises the two in the longer run: it is still a pretty hefty amount of sugar and calories for a drink that you drink everyday.

For instance, in the longer run, you might see nutritionists argue in the favour of unsweetened tea, even make the case for green tea with no sugar, which is correct, as far as the overall consumption and sugar figure goes. The health effect, in the longer term, is therefore, not too much. You get basically a negligible difference in sugar and calories, and the number one suggestion we’ve seen in most of the cases is this one: if you are currently consuming sodas, it would be better to switch to sweet tea, but in the longer run, it wont make any difference at all.

It is usually suggested to switch to green tea with no sugar at all, since it would make a considerable difference then. The health effect, in short, is this: in the short term, you do get a momentary drop in the sugar content and the calorie count. In the longer run, it might not do you any favours, so look into something else (preferably with no sugar at all) if you’re serious about cutting down on unwanted calories. 

Shedding The Pounds: Sweet Tea vs Soda

Losing weight by going down this journey of replacing sodas with sweet tea is understandable, but isn’t very practical. As mentioned before, the sugar and calorie content and the difference between the two is negligible at best, and so, if you are looking to shed some weight and lose those pounds (the American ones, not the British ones), switching from sodas to sweet tea isn’t very much of a big difference or a sweeping change. Fine for a mid-year resolution like ‘From today, I’m not going to touch another can of Coke. Instead, its tea town all the way onwards’, but it wont cut a new year’s resolution, considering there’s no actual difference in the sugar consumed or calories tucked away in your body. 

So, for losing weight, switching to sweet tea from a soda isn’t going to cut that weight. Try something more radical, like green tea or tea without sugar in it. Tea still can’t compete with soda when it comes to taste? Try this

We’re no John Pemberton, but hey, sweet tea still does not perform well in the taste department. You just cant beat the fizzy freshness and the refreshing taste of Coke or Fanta. But with tea, you can experiment, with flavours, additives, and all kinds of different things that you might dunk in that glass just to give a little more kick, a little more edge. 

For starters, you could experiment with some new flavours; that always helps. Iced tea also helps switch that same old boring taste up a few notches and makes it quite a refreshing affair to enjoy. Arizona Iced Tea is one of the few drinks that can be trusted to do that, and they never fail. So you could look int switching from home-brewed tea or any other brand and try out Arizona. We’re just suggesting, of course. 

Final Words

Finally, if all else fails, there’s always soluble tastemakers, honey and other ingredients and garnishes that you can use. A popular twist is the Southern sweet tea, which is really just lemon squeezed into the drink. Just to give it that twisty, tangy taste, lemon and lime can be used to make your sweet tea more zesty and more refreshing.


List of Commonly Asked Questions and Answers on a Website About Topics “Is Sweet Tea Better Than Soda?

Q1. Is Sweet Tea Healthier Than Sodas?

what we’ve been going on throughout the length and breadth of this passage: from straight numbers, yes, sweet tea is healthier than sodas, atleast the regular kind. With diet and zero sugar sodas, sweet tea kind of loses the healthy edge.

Q2. Is Homemade Sweet Tea Healthier?

There is a good case to be made for homemade sweet tea in this case, as it might be healthier than store-bought or canned sweet tea. Again, its entirely subjective, as homemade sweet tea, might contain some items that could bump up the sugar, calories and leave Arizona Iced Tea in the dust.
Green tea with no sugar made at home might be the healthiest concoction of them all, and if you could go for that, it might as well be one of the best nutritional decisions you might’ve taken your whole life. 

Q3. What is Effects of Sweet Tea and Soda on the Body

The effects of both sodas and sweet teas on the body and more or less similar. Both are drinks and contain sugar, which means that sugar is assimilated into the bloodstream with relatively more ease, which means that this sugar consumed will be more effective in getting turned into fat.
Lastly, sodas contain a lot of carbonated water, which releases gases inside the gut, which could be problematic. Sweet teas don’t have carbonated water in them, and they are good to go in this regard.