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Column: Tea more like drinking hummingbird food

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Lately, I’ve been noticing that all my pants seem to be shrinking. Actually, they don’t seem to be shrinking lengthwise, just in the waist.

I see two possible solutions to the problem.

I can either buy several pairs of new pants or find a way to shrink my waistline by an amount equal to the shrinkage of my pants.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve had this problem with pants. I’m not sure what’s causing the waistlines to shrink, but I suspect it’s the brand of detergent I’ve been using.

The last time this happened, I bought new pants, which was expensive. As I have no desire to spend that kind of money again, I have decided to take the steps necessary to shrink my own waistline, even though it’s the pants, not I, that have caused this problem.

OK, perhaps I have contributed to the problem in some small way. OK, maybe several small ways. Cookies are small and I eat way too many of them.

I’ve also grown quite fond of high-calorie beverages with ingredients such as coffee, chocolate and whipped cream. Really, I don’t drink that many, though a co-worker has given me the nickname Mocha Doug.

So, on a recent visit to the coffee shop, I decided to skip my normal high-calorie — yet oh so delicious — drink and opt for a more healthy choice. I chose a bottle of iced green tea.

I like green tea, and I know it’s good for me, so I couldn’t go wrong, right?


The label on the bottle said the contents were green tea and a “touch of sweetness.” I took a sip and immediately questioned the definition of the word “touch.” When I looked closer at the label, I was shocked. This small bottle of green tea contained 30 grams of sugar.

I wasn’t drinking green tea; I was drinking the stuff we put in our hummingbird feeder. I’m surprised it was still liquid.

Later, when I mentioned this to a friend, she sent me a link to a website called This site shows pyramids of sugar cubes in front of various food products. The more cubes in front of the product, the more sugar it contains.

To say this site was eye-opening would be an understatement. That bottle of “healthy” green tea had nearly as much sugar as a can of Coca-Cola. It had more sugar than an equal amount of lemonade and about as much as 8 ounces of chocolate milk.

I was shocked to find out that I would have consumed roughly the same amount of sugar had I skipped the green tea and instead eaten six mini powdered sugar doughnuts or five Fruit Roll-Ups.

This green tea was no better than my beloved cookies when it came to sugar content. For the same amount of sugar, I could eat eight Chips Ahoy! cookies. Wow! I usually eat only four at a time.

I don’t mean to pick solely on this particular green tea. Store shelves are loaded with products that aren’t quite as healthy as they would seem. The next time you go to the grocery, read a few labels and you’ll see what I mean.

Sometimes, I wonder how food manufacturers are able to cram so much fat, sugar and salt into their products. The wonders of chemistry I suppose.

From now on, when I want green tea, I think I’ll stick a tea bag in some hot water. All the flavor with zero grams of sugar.

And the next time I’m in the mood to consume 30 grams of sugar in one product, I think I’ll go with either the Big Texas cinnamon roll or 20 tablespoons of peanut butter.

Or maybe a beverage involving coffee, chocolate and whipped cream.

Doug Showalter can be reached at 379-5625 or

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