This issue isn't a dichotomy, it's a continuum. Yes, most beverages are "flavored water." But, that oversimplifies the point. Adding a single sugar crystal to a glass of water doesn't instantly turn it into the equivalent of a can of Coke. The relevant discussion isn't whether tea is the equivalent of water, but how close to water tea is, and how much closer is it to water, relative to other alternatives, such as soda. Now, I don't have the answers as they will rely on the interplay between the percentage of water relative to the whole, the presence or absence of diuretics such as caffeine, alcohol, and sodium, the amount of particulate matter, the amount of chemicals the body considers "useless" that need to be filtered and purged, etc, etc, etc.
Still, even if you don't have the answers, one should always take care to ask the correct questions
This post was edited on 4/19 at 1:56 pm