My protective love of tomatoes must have been overcome by my love of southern sweet tea: result prostate cancer.

So I am camping with my son’s scout group and a father I was assigned to be in the same tent tells me that he loves sweet tea.

“Is that so?” I ask.

“Yes, love it. I have it everyday for lunch no matter where I am,” he says. He tells me he was a traveling pharmaceutical rep.

“Which restaurant do you feel has the best sweet tea?” I ask.

“I don’t know. I guess they are all about the same,” he says.

“You don’t know?” I ask incredulously.  “What do you mean you don’t know? You love sweet tea  but you don’t know who has the best. Do you always ask if it was brewed and not a mix and that it has been made the same day. Or how about if there are fresh lemons? And you don’t ask if it is made  from a syrup vs. brewed? These are all very important things to know and consider.” I continue.

“I get it wherever I eat and no I don’t ask all those questions,” he says.

“Do you make your own sweet tea at home?” I ask.

“My wife does,” he says.

“What brand?” I ask.

“I don’t know what   brand she uses.  She does make it though,” he says.

“How does she make it and how much sugar does she use? How much does she make at a time and how many bags to how much water? does she use family sized bags? Do you use filtered water? Does she let it cool naturally, add cold water or use ice to both cool it and to the right amount? How long does she let it steep?” I ask in rapid succession.

” I don’t know, but it tastes fine,” he says.

I say, ” Well I don’t know that you can say you love sweet tea and you don’t have a favorite restaurant because of it. I think if you really loved sweet tea then the food becomes secondary that you choose the restaurant by the tea first and then consider the food. And you don’t how to make it yourself and you don’t have a favorite  brand, mine is Luzianne,  and you just drink what is put in front of you. To me that is not someone who loves sweet tea. As a matter of fact I can tell you who has the very best sweet tea there is, and that is Captain D’s. I got some of their tea leaves one time from a manager who was a patient of mine and made it at home. I cherished those tea leaves orange and black pekoe I believe they were. I tried to buy it but it was a commercial blend only available to restaurants.”

I continue,” The way I make my tea is to boil one quart of water that has been filtered, then I put in two family sized bags of Luzianne tea and let it steep for 7 minutes. This is important now, you add your sugar now 3/4 cup and dissolve it while the brew is hot.  I then pour the tea into a two-quart  container and put in enough ice to bring it to two quarts. I slice a fresh lemon, fill a glass with ice and then pour the tea over that. I don’t refrigerate and I make it fresh daily.”

I am met with a blank star and then the guy mutters, ” All I said was that I like sweet tea.”

Southerner’s love sweet tea and ice-cold with lots of ice and lemon. Years later after the above McDonald’s figured this out and now advertises their “sweet tea.”

So I ate millions of tomato sandwiches and drank millions of gallons of sweet tea.

The latter must have trumped the former I guess.


Prostate Cancer Risk Higher For Heavy Tea Drinkers

20 Jun 2012

A new study from Scotland has found that men who are heavy tea drinkers may be at higher risk for prostate cancer. However, the researchers point out their study was not designed to find causes, so all they can say is that heavy tea drinking is linked to a higher risk for prostate cancer and not necessarily the cause of it.

Study leader Dr Kashif Shafique of the Institute of Health & Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow, told the media:

“We don’t know whether tea itself is a risk factor or if tea drinkers are generally healthier and live to an older age when prostate cancer is more common anyway.”

“Most previous research has shown either no relationship with prostate cancer for black tea or some preventive effect of green tea,” said Shafique.

He and his colleagues write about the findings of their prospective study in a paper that was published online in the journal Nutrition and Cancer on 14 June.

The data they used covered 6,016 Scottish men aged from 21 to 75 years who were enrolled on the Midspan Collaborative study between 1970 and 1973 and were followed for up to 37 years.

The men had filled in questionnaires about their general health, smoking habits, and usual consumption of tea, coffee, and alcohol, and they also attended a screening examination.

When they analyzed the data the researchers found a statistically significant link (P=0.02, so unlikely to be due to pure chance) between tea drinking and overall risk of developing prostate cancer.

Cup of tea
After water, tea is the most widely consumed drink in the world.

They found the men who drank the most tea (more than seven cups a day, just under a quarter of all the men) had a 50% higher risk of developing prostate cancer than those who drank the least (0 to 3 cups a day).

Overall, 6.4% of the men who drank the most tea developed prostate cancer during the study period, compared with 4.6% of those who consumed the least.

The researchers found no significant link between tea drinking and low or high grade cancer incidence:

“Men with higher intake of tea are at greater risk of developing prostate cancer, but there is no association with more aggressive disease,” write the authors, who conclude:

“Further research is needed to determine the underlying biological mechanisms for the association.”

Shafique said:

“We found that heavy tea drinkers were more likely not to be overweight, be non alcohol-drinkers and have healthy cholesterol levels. However, we did adjust for these differences in our analysis and still found that men who drank the most tea were at greater risk of prostate cancer.”

Dr Kate Holmes, Head of Research at The Prostate Cancer Charity, said in a statement released on Tuesday:

“Whilst it does appear that – of the 6,000 men who took part in this study – those who drank seven or more cups of tea each day had an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, this did not take into consideration family history or any other dietary elements other than tea, coffee and alcohol intake. It is therefore unclear as to whether there were other factors in play which may have had a greater impact on risk.”

“We would therefore not wish any man to be concerned, as a result of this study, that drinking a moderate amount of tea as part of a healthy diet will put them at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer,” she added.

Dr Carrie Ruxton is a dietician who sits on the Tea Advisory Panel, a health information group funded by the tea industry’s UK Tea Council. On Tuesday, the Telegraph reported her saying:

“The study doesn’t show a cause and effect relationship between tea drinking and cancer risk.”

“Tea drinking is simply a marker for some other issue. That may be down to issues with stress, or perhaps diet,” said Ruxton.

In the ten years leading up to 2010, the incidence of prostate cancer in Scotland went up by 7.4%. It is the most common cancer amongst Scottish men.

Written by Catharine Paddock PhD

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