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Nutrition

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What's the Deal with Loaded Tea? Here's What to Know

Loaded teas might be popular on social media but are they healthy in reality? We spill the tea on this colorful drink here.

What's the Deal with Loaded Tea? Here's What to Know


Green, black, oolong, and rooibos are all familiar names of tea and are associated with providing various health benefits. However, some teas, referred to as "loaded tea," are popular on social media and are bright colors of the rainbow instead of the tame light brown or green tea color.

What really is the colorful loaded tea and is it worth the hype? Take a closer look at this bright, eye-catching trend and the truth behind loaded tea.

What Is Loaded Tea?

How can tea be “loaded?" The term is meant to mean tea that can offer extra health benefits than normal tea such as:

• Boosting weight loss
Suppressing appetite
• Increasing energy
• Improving focus

In addition to these extra benefits, the tea is brightly colored with some loaded teas offering more than one color of the rainbow. 

The name is misleading, as loaded tea is not actually tea. Rather than being based on tea leaves, it is a mix of herbal supplements, caffeine, or other ingredients to provide a drink that is suggested to offer various benefits. 

However, the exact ingredients in loaded tea are not always clear. This is why many health experts warrant caution with these supposed health drinks.

How Herbalife Tea Relates to Loaded Tea

Herbalife is often associated with loaded tea, as Herbalife is one of the most prominent suppliers of the main ingredients for loaded tea. In fact, some smoothie and health drink shops (also called nutrition clubs) that offer loaded tea are really a front for Herbalife products

Herbalife is a multi-level marketing company, and according to Forbes, has been involved in civil and criminal penalties. Herbalife has a questionable reputation for being forthcoming and transparent with the way the company is run and the quality of ingredients.

 In fact, a 2019 study found Herbalife supplements in India to be a source of heavy metals, toxins, and bacteria.

Loaded Tea Nutrition

Because loaded tea can vary in ingredients and optional add-ons, the nutrition information can vary. In addition, the exact ingredients can be hard to pin down.

Loaded Tea Nutrition Negatives

Loaded Tea Nutrition Positives

They can be very high in caffeine, similar to energy drinks. 

These drinks are often supplemented with various vitamins and/or minerals.

They contain artificial flavors, sweeteners, and colors.

They are low in calories.

These drinks are made with supplements that are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Contamination and purity of ingredients are a possibility with any supplement.

Potential Risks from Loaded Tea

There have been accounts of people feeling jittery, flushed, or having a spike in blood pressure after drinking loaded tea. 

As with energy drinks, the caffeine content along with possibly other ingredients could cause these negative side effects. If caffeine sensitive, it is recommended to avoid drinking loaded tea.

Conclusion: Is Loaded Tea Healthy?

Loaded tea is actually more similar to energy drinks than tea. These drinks have bright, beautiful colors and are not made from steeping tea leaves. Instead, they are made from a variety of supplements and powders claiming to offer various health benefits.

Herbalife is the main company behind driving the loaded tea phenomenon with their nutrition clubs or stores being the main provider of loaded tea. Health experts suggest using caution with drinking loaded tea due to the lack of clarity of ingredients, nutritional information, and high caffeine content. 

References:

Capritto A. Loaded tea: The drink that's landed people in the ER. CNET. Published October 9, 2020. https://www.cnet.com/health/nutrition/is-loaded-tea-good-or-bad-for-you/.

Ligos L. Cut the B.S.: Herbalife Nutrition Clubs. The Sassy Dietitian. Published April 20, 2021. https://thesassydietitian.com/cut-the-b-s-herbalife-nutrition-clubs/.

Rao V. Are loaded teas dangerous? the truth about these vitamin-packed beverages. TODAY. Published August 28, 2020. https://www.today.com/food/are-loaded-teas-healthy-all-about-loaded-tea-ingredients-t190369.

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on June 03, 2022. Updated on June 20, 2022.

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