Sweet Tea vs. Soda: Which Is Better?

sweet tea vs soda

Among all the beverages, two types are not that healthy but are very loved and favored by almost all generations: sweet tea and soda. Considering all the campaigns done to reduce the consumption of both those products, consumers may ask: which is better: sweet tea or soda?

Sweet tea is just a little better than soda. The disadvantage of both sweet tea and soda is their high sugar level, which can affect a lot of health risks like cardiovascular diseases. Most of the time, sweet tea has fewer sugar levels and calories. Also, soda contains carbon dioxide gas that can cause bloating stomach.

But I know how addictive those beverages can sometimes be when you have just ordered some good junk food, and let’s not be very harsh: everyone can consume them under control. So, for you to know more about sweet tea and soda, I have compared them in detail. In the end, you can decide which one will consume in the future. 

Sweet Tea vs. Soda: Differences

Flavor

When talking about taste, sweet tea and Soda are entirely different. Sweet tea has a soft taste; you feel the sugar immediately, and it usually has a flowery taste that can be peach, lemon, or blue fruits. In addition, sweet tea is a soft drink as it does not contain a lot of acidities. 

On the other hand, Soda is a more strong beverage as it contains carbon dioxide gas and, like a carbonated drink, gives a nasty taste to your mouth. Compared to sweet tea, Soda is more acidic, and you can feel the bitterness. 

Uses

Each product has its way of consuming it, and to be honest, they are not very similar. Of course, both can be consumed on a hot summer day to hydrate yourself, but they are pretty different.

Soda is perfect to use in alcoholic cocktails. Vodka and Gin are only two alcohols that go well with soda, but the number of cocktails containing soda is very high. Another preferred moment to consume soda is while consuming burgers and french fries. 

This is the only moment when I choose soda over everything else. For pizza and burgers, soda is the best accompaniment. On the other side, sweet tea is very sugary to be consumed in salty food and does not create the perfect balance.

Instead, you can consume sweet tea with a fresh fruit salad, with chocolate muffins, or just with homemade cookies.

Nutrition

​​Regarding the macronutrients, the most dominant ones are carbs and sugar in both beverages. Soda for the same quantity of 100ml has two more grams of carbs and 2,5 more grams of sugar than sweet tea.  [1]

Overall, Soda has more calories, 42 kcal, and sweet tea has 31 kcal. As per nutritional values, please consider that the ingredients in sweet tea are water, cane sugar, and freshly brewed tea, so there are not many dietary values you can take from this product. [2]

Besides the mentioned ingredients, Soda contains more preservatives that make this beverage not very healthy, and you shouldn’t consume it every day. 

Sugar Content

The most critical component in soda and sweet tea is the sugar level. Unfortunately, in our everyday life, we don’t understand the large quantity of sugar we take and how much it risks our health as we get older.

For this reason, it would be advisable to be aware and check the sugar content in beverages or canned food that we buy in supermarkets. For example, in the case of soda, per 100 grams of soda, we take 9,95 grams of sugar. 

Sweet tea contains less than that, only 7,5 grams. However, those quantities are below the suggested sugar content that a body can take in a day.

Caffeine 

You may not have known that sweet tea and soda also contain caffeine. The level of caffeine changes from one brand to another. To make it more concrete, let’s see the most popular soda, Coca-Cola, and the most popular sweet tea, Lipton Ice Tea.

Even here, soda is confirmed to have a higher quantity, as Coca-Cola contains 2,8 grams per oz. In Lipton Ice Tea, you can have 1,25 mg of caffeine per oz.

In energy drinks like a Red Bull, the caffeine helps you concentrate and be more productive, but the quantity is much larger, 8,5 mg per oz. In the case of sweet tea and soda, caffeine does not have the same effect and is used more to improve the texture and taste. 

Popularity

Soda includes the big family of some of the most consumed beverages like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Fanta, and Sprite. The revenue of almost $58 billion made by selling those beverages shows the popularity of soda. 

Although in the last decade, due to the excellent education about food, people have chosen healthier options, and soda consumption has dropped by 25%. 

As per sweet tea, it isn’t easy to measure the quantity consumed as the tea itself is the most consumed beverage after water. But consumers prefer to go more for fresh and organic tea than sweet tea. Moreover, a good percentage want to consume tea without sugar at all. 

Is Sweet Tea Healthier Than Soda

So, is sweet tea better than soda is hard to say as personally. I won’t choose any of those. Those beverages’ artificial sugar does not do any good to your body. The quantity of sugar in both is very high and unnecessary to make us function; on the contrary, it mostly has bad effects if consumed in large quantities. 

Comparing the sugar levels in both those beverages, sweet tea has a smaller amount and does not contain gases that can irritate your stomach. 

But still, avoiding those beverages to the maximum is the best favor you could have done for your body. Consume them moderately and instead choose organic tea or homemade lemonades. 

sweet tea vs soda

Sweet Tea Vs. Diet Soda: Which Is Better?

Diet Soda overall has almost 0 calories, more precisely, it has less than 1, and it does not contain any nutritional value such as sugar or carbs. [3]

On the other hand, sweet tea has 31 kcal and 7.5 grams of sugar. Therefore, I would go for diet soda by analyzing it from this point of view and knowing that the sugar in sweet tea is in large quantities and not healthy. In this way, you enjoy the soda taste, but you don`t consume sugar. [4]

But please be careful; diet soda does not have calories does not mean that it cannot be harmful to your body. If you consume it too much, it can cause significant problems like decreasing the intensity of the bones; it may lead to gaining weight or type 2 diabetes. 

Is Sweet Tea Better Than Soda for Your Teeth?

High acid beverages can cause problems with the tooth, like weakening the tooth and giving it a yellow color. Those problems start to appear at a pH of 5.5, while beverages like sweet tea and soda have a pH level from 2.5 to 5.2. The lower the pH, the more acidic a substance is, so in this case, both soda and sweet tea are equally problematic. 

Although soda has carbonation content (or gases) that dries our mouths out, lowering the saliva levels decreases the protection. So we can say that the harmful effects are more potent from soda and sweet tea; it all depends on the quantity of the sugar. 

Unsweet Tea Vs. Soda: Which Is Better?

Scientifically speaking, is sweet tea better than soda? Unsweet tea is better for our organism than any soda type. Unsweet tea is most likely only water and fruit taste or fresh herbs. On the other hand, soda is full of sugar and preservatives. 

Unsweet tea brings health benefits to the cardiovascular system, while the high sugar level of soda can harm the cardiovascular system. In addition, unsweet tea may contain caffeine and have side effects like staying awake if you consume it at night, but soda gas can create cramps and bloating stomach. 

Overall, if you are between those two options, go for unsweet tea, which you can make sweeter with a bit of honey, rather than soda which contains a lot of not healthy sugars.

  • Laura is the owner of Julie's Cafe Bakery. She started this blog with her grandma Julie who introduced her to the amazing world of cooking. She likes to experiment with different flavors, and her favorite flavors combo is chicken with coconut milk, curry and peanuts!