Ask the Dietitians

Ask the Dietitians: Avoid Toxic Teas

Is it true that some teas are toxic?

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There are many benefits to tea: Studies show that the antioxidants found in tea may help lower blood pressure, total and “bad” LDL cholesterol, inflammation, insulin resistance and oxidative stress. But now we are learning that there’s a dark side to tea.

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Most tea is not washed before it’s bagged, leaving a high amount of pesticide residue on the leaves. Many companies also add artificial or natural flavorings to their teas. However, natural flavorings often contain soy lecithin, which is usually made from genetically modified soy. The paper tea bags that tea leaves are packed in are usually treated with epichlorohydrin, which breaks down into a known carcinogen, while silk bags are typically made from plastic, which break down in hot water. Instead, buy unbleached, 100% biodegradable natural fiber organic tea bags or organic, loose tea leaves, with no added flavorings, and steep them in a stainless steel or glass strainer.

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Registered dietitians Tiffani Bachus and Erin Macdonald are the co-founders and creators of, a website dedicated to promoting wellness and a healthy, balanced lifestyle.