Here’s why sugar in green tea is a healthy idea

A new study shows that adding ascorbic acid and sugar to green tea helps the body more easily absorb helpful compounds that help fight health problems.

Mario Ferruzzi, lead researcher and associate professor of food science and nutrition at Purdue University, asserts that adding ascorbic acid to green tea will increase the absorption capacity of the catechins found in the tea.

Catechins, a class of polyphenols common in tea, cocoa and grapes, are antioxidants believed to fight heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and other health problems.

Ascorbic acid, sucrose, or both together tripled the amount of catechin absorbed into the bloodstream.

According to Ferruzzi, Elsa Janle, Purdue associate research professor of food and nutrition, and Katrina Peters, the new study also shows the effectiveness of a model that could reduce the number of animals needed for such research.

The model charts how the digestive stability, solubility, and absorption of polyphenols change based on changes in beverage formulation.

Ferruzzi said that testing with the model allows researchers to predict how a new product formula might change the product’s properties, reducing the number of animals needed to test only those products that show the desired properties in the model.

The research backs up model studies that showed that adding sugar and vitamin C to green tea increases the body’s ability to absorb polyphenols.

Ferruzzi said adding lemon juice or other citrus juices to tea will do the trick, or consumers can look for ready-to-eat products that contain 100 percent of the recommended amount of vitamin C or ascorbic acid on the ingredients list.

“Having vitamin C seems to do that,” Ferruzzi said. “And if you don’t want to squeeze a lemon into your cup, drink a glass of juice with your green tea.”

The study was published in the International Journal of Food Research.

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