Wendyl Wants To Know

Each week, Wendyl Nissen takes a packaged food item and decodes what the label tells you about its contents.

Wendyl wants to know: Sweet peachy tea has sugary failing

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Lipton Ice Tea Peach. $2.69 for 500ml.

Lipton Ice Tea Peach. $2.69 for 500ml.
Lipton Ice Tea Peach. $2.69 for 500ml.

My daughter pointed this out to me in the supermarket as a drink that is very popular with her friends. They see it as a healthy option to soft drinks like Coke.

And indeed the label would have you believing this is a very good drink for you.

It has no preservatives, no artificial colours and no artificial sweeteners, and it tells you that "Tea contains many good things" and sends us to a website to find out more.

My daughter also told me it had "heaps of sugar in it but tastes gorgeous - try it!"

Recently a group of New Zealand researchers and public health doctors launched the website www.fizz.org.nz (Fighting Sugar in Soft drinks) which is working to reduce the amount of sugar in soft drinks in this country. They aim to have a sugar-free Pacific by 2030.

It is widely believed that the amount of sugar in readily available soft drinks is contributing to our rising levels of obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.

Ingredients

Water - Most of this bottle contains water so why not just drink water?

Sugar - Not quite as much as a Coke but you'll get 34g or just over eight teaspoons of sugar in this 500ml bottle. It might be tempting to think the sugar is from the peach juice in this bottle but it's not. It's just plain sugar.

Tea extract (4.5%) - This means there is 22.5ml of tea in this 500ml drink. This might be enough to flavour the drink and give it a brown colour, reducing the need to use colouring - which is great.

Food acids (296,330,331) - These are malic acid (296), citric acid (330), and sodium citrates (331). These will be in here to help preserve the drink and possibly flavour it as well.

Peach juice - Being so far down on this list means that there isn't a lot of peach juice in here. I would guess that it is less than 2 per cent as under our food labelling laws you don't have to list a percentage if it is under that threshold.

Flavours (contains wheat derivative) - These will be artificial flavours to give it the taste of peach.

Antioxidant (300) - This is ascorbic acid, otherwise known as vitamin C.

My recommendations:

On the surface this seems like a healthier choice than other soft drinks because it has no colours or artificial sweeteners. But the devil is in the detail, and that's the amount of sugar. Iced tea is an easy drink to make - simply put four teabags in a litre of water and sit it in the sun until it has steeped (or use boiling water to speed up the process).

You can also do this with herbal teabags for a really nice sun tea. Keep a jug in the fridge and add your own sugar.

A study of children eating breakfast cereals showed that kids consumed less sugar if they added it themselves rather than eating pre-sweetened cereals. So encouraging your family to sweeten their own food rather than buying it pre-sweetened is probably a good idea.

Do you have a food product you would like to feature? Email wendylwantstoknow@gmail.com with suggestions. Unfortunately Wendyl cannot correspond with readers.

- NZ Herald

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