So you are on your way to make decisions that are healthier for you. So instead of having your usual Whole Milk Cinnamon Dolce Latte from your local Starbucks, you opt for a far healthier Green Tea Latte, made with their signature Tazo Matcha Green Tea Powder.
You think to yourself “I’m getting all the health benefits of Matcha with the excitement of a full bodied latte” – Or are you?
In recent times, we have become aware of health benefits of green tea, something the Eastern countries such as Japan and China have known for centuries. However not all green teas are created equal.
Green tea is packed with antioxidants. The best green tea is Matcha because it uses whole tea leaves and the antioxidant are release the more the leaves are submerged in the water. So a combination of antioxidants and green tea = a VERY healthy drink.
So if I can get the powerful health benefits of Matcha tea at my local Starbucks, it would be a win-win situation.
Logic would follow that Starbucks, an international company that spends millions of dollars on product research, would make sure that the products they are offering would be made to offer the best possible health benefits – especially if its products like Matcha Lattes.
I have done research, and Starbucks’ products are not all they are always cracked up to. Many people have noticed, even though they would order Matcha with organic soy milk and no syrup, the Matcha Latte would be excessively sweet.
If we investigate further, we will find that the blend of match tea powder that Starbucks uses, Tazo Match Green Tea Powder, is not pure Matcha Tea Powder. In fact the powder is a blend of sugar, flavoring, ground green tea and Matcha powder.
Tazo Matcha Green Tea Powder: Sugar(!), Flavoring, Ground Green Tea Leaves and Matcha Powder
The main concern here is the fact that the powder is not just Matcha tea. It is a mixture of sugar and green tea leaves. They do not state which green tea leaves that are contained in the powder and what percentage of it is actual Matcha powder.
This is just the Tazo Matcha Green Tea powder! I haven’t even gotten into the ingredients used in the actual Matcha Latte.
The Starbucks Green Tea Latte contains the following:
Tazo Matcha Green Tea Powder
Simple syrup (optional): sugar, water, citric acid (E330), Preservative: Potassium Sorbate (E202)
Soy milk: filtered water, whole organic soy beans, organic evaporated cane juice, calcium carbonate, sea salt, carrageenan, sodium citrate, organic vanilla flavour, sodium bicarbonate, natural flavor, zinc gluconate, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin B2, riboflavin, vitamin B12
If we look at their nutritional information we, that the Starbucks Matcha Latte has between 20g – 59g of sugar depending on the size of the drink. It means there is approximately 3 – 10 teaspoons of sugar in one drink (!).
Although sugar is found naturally in various foods such as fruits, the sugar we find in almost all foods today is processed sugar.
This type of sugar, as have been documented recently can be very harmful to one’s health by causing complications in the immune system, raise insulin levels, create hormonal imbalances, lead obesity, dental issues, diabetes and list goes on,
Also what kind of sugar is found in the syrup, no one knows.
The flavoring can also be quite misleading. Although it might natural flavoring, to only means that it resembles the natural flavor. It does not necessarily mean it has been made from natural sources and it could very well have been made in a laboratory.
Citric Acid (E330), also known as Vitamin C, this can’t be harmful at all, right? Most Citric acid is formed from fungi called Aspergillus niger .
This grows on culture media which contains molasses, sugar beet, or glucose (corn). Although it can be organically produced, the majority of molasses and glucose is produced from GMO (genetically-modified) sources.
GMO foods have not been tested extensively so one cannot attest to the safety or lack thereof of the consumption of genetically modified foods.
Something else that we need to consider in this “super-healthy” Tazo Match Green Tea Latte is the use of the preservative Potassium Sorbate (E202). The main purpose of a preservative is to ensure a longer shelf life by resisting the growth of mould in food like cheese, yoghurt and almost all other foods.
However, constant use of preservatives could lead to health complications such as allergies, migraines, nausea to name a few. It also causes loss of nutrient in food.
So instead of taking in the powerful nutrients found in Matcha we are actually causing more harm than good to our bodies. This particular preservative is, according to one study, is seen a genotoxic and mutagenic compound. In other words it can cause cancer.
Carrageenan, found in the soy milk used to make Tazo Matcha Green Tea Latte, is made from certain seaweeds. These seaweeds are processed into a “natural” food ingredient.
The problem is that is a powerful inflammatory ingredient. Thus type of seaweed is usually healthy is consumed in its natural form. However, once processed into products like the organic soy milk used Starbucks it can become toxic in the body and turn into a carcinogen.
Animal studies have shown this type of carrageean can cause gastrointestinal inflammation,intestinal lesions, ulceration, and even malignant tumors.
The last thing we need to consider is the use of organic soybeans in the soy milk. Unless fermented, soy beans should only be consumed in small amounts. This is because fermented soy beans contain goitrogens which cause a decrease in thyroid function.
Unfermented soy beans also contain trypsin inhibitors and phytoestrogens, which can prevent the body from digesting proteins and interfere with hormonal balance.
So having gone through the list of ingredients, one might ask what are we to do now.