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February 1, 2022
Are Matcha Lattes Healthy? Here's What You Need to Know
Tea is the second most-consumed beverage in the world (being second only to water) (1). And matcha tea—in particular—is considered to be the highest quality tea known to man, and for good reason.
But is this vibrant green tea from 8th century Japan still of utmost quality?
Read on to find out…
What Is Matcha?
Matcha is a type of powdered green tea (Camellia sinensis) that’s native to Japan. What makes it unique (and ultra-healthy) is the way it’s cultivated…
Using bamboo mats, the green tea bushes are shaded from direct sunlight for 20 to 30 days before harvest. This shading method allows the plant to produce higher amounts of amino acids and important plant compounds like theanine, caffeine, chlorophyll, and various types of catechins. This shading method is also what creates matcha’s unique, non-bitter taste and vibrant green color, making it the highest quality—and most aromatic—tea known to man (2).
When matcha tea is prepared, its young tea leaves (minus the stems and veins) are dried and then ground into a fine powder. This powder is then whisked with hot water for a matcha tea—or steamed nut milk for a matcha latte—and then consumed.
The Difference Between Green Tea and Matcha Green Tea
Green tea and matcha are two types of tea that are steeping in health benefits. However, one of them has a greater nutritional profile.
One way to explain the nutritional difference between green tea and matcha tea is with yet another green item: Spinach.
If you were to boil spinach in water and then only drink the water, you would get just a fraction of the nutrients as opposed to if you were to eat the spinach as a whole.
This is the distinguishing factor between green tea and matcha…
With traditional green tea, you’re only drinking the water that the leaves have been steeping in. Whereas with matcha, you’re consuming the entire tea leaf (minus the stems and veins).
Health Benefits of Matcha
Matcha’s health-promoting properties are thanks to its extremely high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory profile.
In fact, polyphenols (a type of powerful antioxidant) account for a whopping 30% of matcha’s dry weight. These soaring levels of polyphenols can be attributed to the grinding process that creates matcha’s powdered form. The benefits of these polyphenols are comparable to that of vitamins C and E, carotene, and tocopherol.
A full list of matcha’s health benefits includes (1, 2):
- Prevention of premature aging
- Protection against neurodegenerative diseases
- Prevention of inflammation on the heart muscle
- Improvement of type 2 diabetes
- Regulation of insulin secretion
- Strengthened blood vessels
- Decreased cancer cell growth
- Regulation of metabolic disorders
- Enhanced immunity
- Decreased oxidative stress
- Improved cognitive function and mental clarity
- Delayed aging of the brain
- Heightened energy, without the jitters
- Increased metabolism
- Increased bone mass
- Reduced inflammation
- Reduced likelihood of gallstones
The number of health-promoting benefits in matcha depends on the amount of powdered tea per portion, along with brewing temperature and time.
The (Unhealthy) Downside to Matcha Lattes
If you’ve ever ordered a matcha latte from Starbucks thinking that you’re getting a healthier alternative to your vanilla latte, think again…
Although matcha green tea is one of the world’s healthiest beverages, most coffee shops use a pre-made matcha mix that contains heaps of sugar.
Take Starbucks, for example…
Their medium-sized (16-ounce) matcha latte contains 32 grams of added sugar (3). That’s a grand total of 8 teaspoons of sugar—yikes!
This obscene amount of sugar—which exceeds a female's recommended daily intake of 25 grams—leads to a plethora of health issues like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, depression, increased cellular aging, acne, and more (4, 5).
And Starbucks isn’t the only one who’s sneaking in the sugar, either. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s 16-ounce matcha latte contains 56 grams of sugar—nearly double the amount of sugar in a Starbucks matcha latte (6).
Why do they add so much sugar, you ask?
For one, not everyone may appeal to matcha’s bright, grassy taste. Although it contains notes of sweetness, it does have a slightly bitter undertone. Thus, for a coffee chain that relies on sweet-tasting caffeinated beverages, adding sugar was their quick fix to mellow out the earthy flavor and keep customers satisfied.
But, did they really need to add 8 teaspoons of sugar? Couldn’t they have just added a drizzle of honey or a dash of monk fruit?
The answer: Yes, yes they could have (and should have).
How to Enjoy a Matcha Latte—Guilt-Free
Luckily, there’s a way to enjoy a matcha latte—without having to consume excessive amounts of sugar…
It takes just 2 ingredients and 2 minutes to make...
It's the perfect option for those wanting a jitter-free alternative to coffee. Naturally sweetened with monk fruit, it leaves you without the mid-morning sugar crash that a regular matcha latte from Starbucks may give you.
Energy without the jitters? Check!
The Bottom Line
Matcha is a tea steeping in health benefits. From prevention of premature aging to enhanced metabolism to increased energy (without the jitters), this thousand-year-old tea is one of the best caffeinated beverages you can get your hands on.
However, not all matcha is created equal…
With numerous coffee shops sneaking several teaspoons of sugar into their matcha lattes, matcha’s once renowned benefits are now being overpowered by sugar’s harmful side effects.
Luckily, there’s a simple one-scoop solution to this problem: NativePath's Matcha Collagen Latte—without the sugar, dairy, or side effects that today's modern matcha latte comes with.
The best part?
You need just two ingredients to make this creamy delicious beverage: Matcha Collagen Powder and nut milk.
Certified Health Coach and Head of Content at NativePath (aka I’m the gal responsible for ensuring that every blog we publish helps you live life a little more #OnThePath).
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.