Black, Green and White Tea Benefits vs Water Health Benefits

You subscribe to the dogma that you need 8-10 glasses to get water health benefits. You know white tea benefits also are strong. But how do the two compare?

I was speaking to a group of employees at one of the local casinos today on the topic of diabetes and prediabetes.  Of course, no topic related to diabetes would be complete without discussing the evils of Bisphenol A (BPA) from plastic water bottles.  Unfortunately, pretty much everyone had a plastic water bottle from the lunch offerings.  I hate to be such a killjoy.

I always strongly advocate tea drinking anywhere that I can while at the same time steering people aware from drinking out of plastic water bottles. As I’ve mentioned time and time again, there is a shocking lack of evidence for the “8-10 glasses of water per day” mantra that we seem to hear from every group giving health recommendations. Based on these recommendations, one would think that we are all merely 16.3 fluid oz of water away from drying up into a husk and blowing away.

Inevitably, someone in the crowd today asked about whether tea counts towards our water intake per day. I mean–hasn’t everyone heard that caffeine dehydrates us and we need to drink MORE water to make up for the tea drinking?

Let’s look at this a little more closely and compare the tea vs water debate.

On one side, we have the 8-10 glasses of water per day camp. The research to back up this claim?  Pretty much nil.  We do however, have loads of studies linking BPA exposure to obesity, diabetes and breast cancer. There is, of course, the whole environmental / landfill argument from all that plastic garbage. Then we have reports from the Environmental Working Group ( that demonstrate that much of the popular bottled water brands are little more than tap water that is far to high in pollutants to be consumed by pregnant women in the state of California. Another recent study found a slight increase in diabetes risk with drinking more than 6 glasses of water per day.

Not looking too good for water so far.

On to tea.

The list could actually be quite longer, but I’m sure you’re getting the point.

The answer would be–why on Earth would you want to add water to compensate for the tea you’re drinking? In these studies above, the participants were not drinking tea AND water–they were drinking tea.

And, just in case all of the above is not convincing enough, this particular study looked at how much drinking tea protected against digestive system cancers (gastric, colon). On average, drinking tea lowered overall risk by 14%. The more tea someone drank and the longer they had been drinking tea, the greater the protection. This climbed to a 26% lower risk in those who drank 2-3 cups per day.

Most of the intake was in the form of green tea, but overall, I usually tell patients that whatever black tea does, green tea does better, and what green tea does, white tea does better. Personally, we go through so much tea at our house that we drink all kinds, looking more for taste than type of tea.

To get a better idea how my household makes tea, refer to an older blog post here that describes how we make it.

Do you have a favorite brand or type of tea?

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.


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2 thoughts on “Black, Green and White Tea Benefits vs Water Health Benefits

  1. Another great post, Dr. Bogash. I like to tell my patients who say “I don’t like tea” to look around — there are many, many varieties of tea. Some of my favorites:
    – Citrus green: a refreshing and flavorful blend that moderates some of the bitter tea flavor that some people find objectionable.
    – Loose leaf genmai cha: a robust green tea with toasted rice — I love the bold flavor. (I like the one from Adagio Tea.)
    – Matcha: I’m not a connoiseur by any means (this is a whole world unto itself!), but every once in a while, I like whisking up this powdered green tea. It’s arguably the best way to get the benefits of tea, since you’re consuming the powdered leaves themselves, not just an infusion.

  2. Andrew,

    Thanks for the feedback. I’d completely agree. Most have never gone past Lipton black tea. No wonder they say they don’t like tea! I’m trying out Maya Tea (Tucson, AZ) right now to see if I like their teas. Would prove to be VERY cost efficient.


    (PS…for those of you wondering about the casual address in this exchange–Dr. Peters was the Validictorian of my graduating class–just a few darn seats ahead of me…)

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