If you want to order a relatively healthy meal from McDonald’s, you may want to skip the chain’s beloved iced tea. While you might assume that it’s a better choice than, say, soda, it turns out that the beverage actually contains a shocking amount of sugar.
Fans found out about the contents of McDonald’s iced tea when an employee and TikTok user Gia (aka @gia2bad) shared a video showing the tea being made. More specifically, it shows someone dumping an entire bag of sugar into a bucket as water and tea pour from above, and the person stirs up the sugary concoction. The video’s text reads: “If y’all were wondering why the sweet tea so sweet at McDonald’s.”
In the video’s description, Gia added, “Yes we use a whole bag sometimes 2.”
Not only has the video gone viral—racking up over 1.3 million views as of writing—but there has been a flood of comments from those who found the discovery shocking. “The bucket? Pouring in the sugar? What is going on,” one confused commenter wrote while questioning pretty much everything they had just witnessed.
“That explains why it’s way too sweet. I always order half sweet and half unsweetened,” another person noted.
There were others claiming that this isn’t necessarily how all McDonald’s locations make their iced tea, with some noting that they use liquid sugar and others saying their iced tea comes pre-made. McDonald’s states on its website that the iced tea is “a briskly refreshing blend of orange pekoe and pekoe cut black tea, sweetened to perfection.” Apparently, it takes 40 grams of sugar in a large iced tea to reach that supposed perfection. For a little context, the American Heart Association recommends that adult women limit their sugar consumption to 25 grams per day while adult men should only get 36 grams, which is almost as much as that large iced tea.
Whatever the actual amount of sugar in the drink, this isn’t the first time an insider has ‘fessed up about this particular beverage. Last year, a former manager who worked at the fast-food giant revealed that their process was to use a sizable red jug and a whole lot of sugar, saying, “For every four gallons of the red jug, the sweet tea, there was a full four-pound bag of sugar emptied into it. One pound per gallon of tea.”
“I stopped drinking the tea after I realized that,” she added. “That’s nasty.”