Is Drinking Too Much Tea Bad For You? – World Atlas


Tea is heavily consumed around the globe. Could drinking too much be bad for you, though?

Tea has a different personality than coffee. While coffee is associated with waking you up and giving you that much-needed energy, tea’s reputation is linked to feelings of comfort and nurturing. One reason is because coffee has more caffeine, a natural stimulant (numbers are approximate):

  • One cup brewed coffee = 96 milligrams caffeine
  • One cup brewed black tea = 47 milligrams caffeine

Coffee is more popular in America than tea, and this can be traced back to the Revolutionary War. John Adams called tea a “traitor’s drink,” and it was unofficially boycotted around the time of the Boston Tea Party. Tea is still heavily consumed here though, as it is around the globe. Could drinking too much be bad for you, though?

Good News First

Tea contains natural antioxidants, known as polyphenols, which have known health benefits. According to, consuming more than three cups per day could lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. Tea also has flavonoids which prevent plaque buildup and inflammation in the arteries.

Black and green tea are both made from the same plant. The difference is that while green teas are immediately steamed to prevent oxidation, black tea leaves oxidize and turn brown prior to drying. Oxidation reduces the amount of flavonoids, and therefore green tea is thought to have more health benefits. There is ongoing research into tea’s additional healthy qualities.

Overdoing It

Experts agree that drinking up to eight cups or tea per day will not impact your health. Drinking more could be detrimental, though. One extreme case from 2013 describes a woman who lost her teeth from fluoride poisoning. She had been drinking a pitcher of iced tea brewed with 100 to 150 tea bags every day for 17 years!

Naturally, most people do not do this, but going over the eight cup per day limit could lead to ill effects from too much caffeine. Symptoms could include increased heart rate, headaches, nausea, upset stomach, depression, the jitters, and of course, insomnia.   

Other Problems

A 2016 case study in Clinical Case Reports included data on a man who followed a regular diet, but consumed excessive amounts of tea. This resulted in low iron levels, and showed how the polyphenols (tannins) in tea can bind to iron and prevent it from being absorbed in the body. This is why it is often recommended to drink tea in between meals, rather than with them.

Pregnant women are also advised to monitor their tea consumption, as the added caffeine can elevate the risk for complications. Drinking too much can also lead to increased acid formation in one’s stomach, which can cause acid reflux, bloating, and heartburn.

Being Addicted

Like coffee, tea can help boost energy safely if you do not drink too much. People do become addicted to caffeine, which leads many to drink cup after cup of coffee or tea daily. In addition to the possible side effects already described, excess caffeine can lead to dehydration. People may not even realize they are dehydrated until they experience symptoms like dizziness, bloating, and a lack of energy. Whether drinking tea or not, it is always recommended to drink around eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day to stay hydrated.

Going over the eight-cup line can also make you feel anxious and restless. One way to combat this side effect is to stop drinking tea after dinner, and definitely not right before going to bed. Caffeine free teas, especially chamomile, can help people fall asleep, though. If you are unsure about the caffeine contact in tea varieties, simply read their labels. There are countless varieties of caffeine free teas and coffees out there.

Dire Predictions

Some websites report that excess tea drinking can lead to prostate cancer, heart problems, miscarriages, and a host of other serious diseases. These can be frightening to read, and many do not have scientific proof to back them up. Wise consumers know that the best course of action is to do things in moderation. The lady who lost her teeth did not subscribe to this school of thought, and ended up losing her teeth. Drinking tea is just like anything else you eat or drink. When done in moderation, you should not have any issues.

About the Author

Ellen Kershner is a dynamic and resourceful marketing professional, with significant experience in supporting various internal and external marketing and communication projects. Her strengths include a reader-friendly, flexible writing style, outstanding customer relationship management skills, and a talent for meeting creative objectives and strict deadlines. She is a content writer for, and also writes for Spryte Communications, Advanta Advertising, and Premier Legal Marketing. From 2008 to 2018, she was the Director of Marketing for Senior Salon Services, a company that manages salons in retirement and assisted living communities.

Ellen also worked in the Editorial Department of Shopper’s Guide, a South Jersey publication with a circulation of 500,000. Her work has also been published by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Ed Hitzel’s Restaurant Magazine, and the Burlington County NJ Trend newspaper group. She graduated with honors from The American University in Washington DC in 1986, and currently lives in Marlton, NJ.


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