The latest trend in weight loss and diet supplements with little to no scientific backing is “teatoxing,” or drinking detox tea.
Brands such as Flat Tummy Co., SkinnyMint, and Bootea claim that drinking their tea will “cleanse your system” and rid the body of any “toxins.” Additionally, detox tea boosts metabolism, reduces bloating, and as some of the brand names imply, aids with weight loss.
But how true are these statements, and how much do these brands really help women when their advertising is controversial as well?
In this article, we’re spilling the tea on detox tea, so read on for information you should know before purchasing a package.
What’s In It?
Most detox teas contain natural ingredients such as peppermint, lemon balm, or licorice, but all too often, these teas contain a powerful and potentially dangerous medication called senna, which is an FDA-approved laxative used to treat constipation and prep for colonoscopy patients. Senna irritates the colon, which in turn stimulates it until the bowels are clear. Even the detox teas that do not use senna are charged with plenty of caffeine or dandelion root; both are diuretics.
Any weight loss that occurs is from temporarily emptying out the entire contents of your intestines after spending most of your time in the bathroom. Losing a pound or two in this fashion will leave you dehydrated, and once you drink until your body is quenched of thirst, the weight will immediately return. Drinking detox teas will technically help you lose weight, but in the form of feces and urine, and will not burn fat.
This method of weight loss is not sustainable nor healthy because it can cause stomach cramps and discomfort. Even worse, it can lead to decreased bowel function and dependency on laxatives, which is why the American Herbal Products Association states to not use senna for more than two weeks.
Something else that lasts longer than two weeks is pregnancy, and if you do not want to be pregnant, then heed caution with detox teas because senna can decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills.
Besides senna, the other natural ingredients may have an adverse effect as well since herbs are not as strictly regulated by the FDA. You have no idea the purity or the amount of the herbs used in detox teas, and there are no specific guidelines regarding proper dosages.
What these detox teas can do to women’s bodies is bad, but the effect on their psyches can be just as harmful.
Thin, attractive models making women feel insecure about themselves in advertisements is nothing new. When celebrities with millions of devoted female followers hanging on to their every word, such as Kylie Jenner or Cardi B, make sponsored Instagram posts sharing their “personal experience” with a product, it sends the wrong message that any average fan can look and feel just like them by simply drinking detox tea.
Fortunately, in September 2019, Instagram and Facebook rolled out a new policy that will restrict posts that promote detox teas to people under 18, as well as other weight loss products and certain cosmetic procedures.
“We want Instagram to be a positive place for everyone that uses it and this policy is part of our ongoing work to reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media” said Emma Collins, Instagram’s public policy manager.
Women should be proud of their bodies whether or not they have Iggy Azaelea’s figure, and they should not jeopardize their digestive health in an attempt to obtain it.
You should embrace your body and love yourself just the way you are, but if you really want to lose weight and actually keep it off, the safest method by far is old-fashioned, reliable diet and exercise.