Food - Drink
The Hidden Truth Of Loaded Teas
By KATIE LENHARDT
Loaded fruit teas are making a splash on social media for their fun colors and flavors and proclaimed health benefits, such as increasing energy, supporting immunity, and promoting weight loss. However, loaded teas are not only "loaded" with artificial sweeteners, corn syrup, and too much caffeine, but also shady business practices.
Some loaded teas have a secret connection to Herbalife, a company that sells weight loss and "wellness" products through a multi-level marketing network, colloquially known as a pyramid scheme. Eater reports that Herbalife is building storefronts to sell its supplements and obtain new distributors by tapping into the loaded tea trend.
When Brittany Jezouit of Better Marketing asked a café on Instagram if its loaded teas contained Herbalife products, she was blocked. This lines up with reports that many "small business" loaded tea cafés and juice bars are actually Herbalife "nutrition clubs," which cannot use Herbalife branding or call themselves food establishments.
These clubs also make customers pay membership fees, rather than buying one or two drinks, and staff avoid divulging the ingredients in their teas. Speaking of ingredients, many loaded teas contain toxic levels of vitamins such as B3, and can negatively affect the cardiovascular system with too many stimulants. Perhaps it's time to load up your own tea at home.