Sweet Tea…a surprising weight gaining tool!

I thought that my little nutrition tip for today would be focused on…

Sweetened Beverages but mainly,


…which is fitting  since I am currently living in the South! To think of it, I am surprised that the City does not just pump sweet tea through the facet!

I will use a friend of ours as an example and try to keep it short …

When Greg and I got back to Florida we were visiting with his good friend and it came up in conversation that this friend wanted to lose a few pounds. So we began talking with him about his diet/eating habits/etc… I was thinking we could pick one thing to focus on to begin with since he had never really “dieted” or actively tried to lose weight.  So I was listening, trying to pick something out and not too far into the conversation, he mentioned that he drinks a lot of sweet tea… right there I stopped him and asked — exactly how much sweet tea?

After some quick calculations, we concluded that he was probably drinking at LEAST a gallon every 2 days if not MORE… much closer to one gallon per day… he was drinking it all day beginning at breakfast.

I knew that the best thing to focus on (if he was willing of course) would be his sweetened beverage intake… SWEET TEA –> this is why… 

A common ratio of making tea in these parts is

2 cups sugar: 1 gallon water. 

This is significant for those that drink a lot of it because:

2 cups of sugar has about 1,550 calories. So if you are drinking one gallon of tea everyday, that is 1,500 calories most likely beyond what you need since people drink it on top of meals or in between…. OR

7 gallons per week totaling 10,850 extra calories.

for every 3,500 calories consumed over what your body does not need it will equal one pound of body fat gained.

So… 1 gallon a day or 10,850 calories a week from the sugar in sweet tea equates to a potential gain of 3.1 pounds a week!

Your body does not need this sugar for many reasons, but if one wants to lose weight, cutting back on sweetened beverages can really make a big difference.  Some people don’t consume soda, juice or this “sweet tea” or this sweet of tea, but for those that do in large quantities – there is a big health benefit in cutting back or cutting it out completely.  He was drinking what I would consider a lot, but I know there are people who drink that amount or more…

For those that drink less, even an average glass (16 oz) of sweet tea has almost 200 calories. If this was extra calories (beyond your daily need) and someone was only drinking one glass per day… there would be a gradual gain of ~2 pounds a month. Or, on the other hand, cutting out one glass a day could potentially cause a loss of 2 pounds a month!

So, anyways, back to the story!

I suggested he cut back on his intake of sweet tea and do nothing else for a while… and then we would see how it was going… I just suggested he cut back to start with because going from a gallon a day to none a day is drastic!   He thought that it would be better for him to quit it “cold turkey”…

This friend of ours has lost 30 pounds since November of 2010…. that is significant seeming that the only change he made was cutting out sweet tea altogether.  WAY TO GO!!!

That is all I had for today on the topic, but it is something to think about.  There are many other drinks out there that are loaded with calories and often people don’t think to look at those as a cause or aid in weight gain.

People ask me about artificial sweetened beverages too and that is a whole different story to me, I don’t encourage a lot of sweetened beverages or artificially sweetened beverages – but we can save that for a future bloggy.


P.S. He did have some pretty rough headaches for a week or so at the beginning of this (one reason why gradual may be good) but they completely subsided and he feels a lot better overall now. 

6 thoughts on “Sweet Tea…a surprising weight gaining tool!

  1. I know what you mean about the sweet tea, I have been drinking more than usual over the past 3-4 months and every month that I have gone to my Dr’s monthly check-up, I have gained weight. I have cut back on it and am trying to drink just plain water until my meal. I haven’t mastered unsweetened tea yet. I grew up on sweet tea and I love it with my meals.
    I do need to lose alot of weight though.
    Thanks for posting.
    oh yes, I don’t put that much sugar in and I don’t drink a gallon a day, maybe half-a-gallon every 3-4 days. Only a cup of sugar.

  2. eek! That’s a little drastic. I love my sweet tea but I make a gallon with 1 cup of sugar and that lasts about a week. I drink water throughout the day though..I CANT LIVE without tea lol and I don’t drink soda anymore.. I’m from Mississippi and live in Texas so their sweet tea would be a different story haha. Anyway, glad your friend lost some weight, a gallon a day is way too much.

  3. Thank you for posting this. I am a southern girl myself and I drink a TON of sweet tea. I don’t have problems with gaining weight its losing weight I gained during my pregnancies. I drink around the same amount as your friend and I put 1 & 1/3 cups of sugar in a gallon. So I will definitely be trying to cut back.

  4. Hi, I to drink A LOT of tea . EXTRA SWEET I think. and I was beginning to wonder why I was gaining SO much weight. I only eat once a day usually and I drink sweet tea all day long I to probably go through a gallon to a gallon and a half. I think I put 2 -2 1/2 cups of sugar in my pitchers of tea. I have never been this big in my life I am about 165 and I am 36 years old so getting harder to keep the weight off.

    • Thanks for your comment! It is amazing how the calories add up in beverages! I stopped adding sugar and cream to my once or twice a day coffee last month and my appetite went up a lot! It would be I tweeting what kind of results you get if you decreased sweet tea or even decreased the sugar! Easier said than done! We like to eat and drink what we like!!

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