Hot Seat: Detox teas

Welcome to, “Hot Seat” where we take topics in health and fitness and figuratively put them on the hot seat to distinguish fact from myth. I hope you all learn something from this series and continue to read up on all of them as they come out.

For those who spend a lot of time on social media there is a possibility that you have seen a celebrity or public figure promoting a detox tea. Typically they say, “it’s my favorite drink” and urge their followers to purchase said product with their special discount code.

Do those teas actually work? Are they good for you? Let’s put detox teas on the hot seat and figure it out.

Not much research has been conducted on the correlation between the ingredients of the teas and weight loss.

However, some dietary experts have expressed their views on detox diets and I hate to break it to everyone, but there is no easy method for losing weight.

Teas such as: green, black, and chamomile can be part of a healthy diet, and may trigger some weight loss, but the amount of calories burned is so small it’s insignificant. When it comes to detox teas, a lot of them contain questionable ingredients.

Detox teas are typically associated with being “all natural” and I’ll agree that they do have natural ingredients– natural laxatives! Laxatives are used to treat constipation and Senna is one popular laxative used in detox teas.

Manufacturers claim that the use of Senna will support your natural detoxification process by cleaning your digestive tract.

Senna and other herbal laxatives may help “cleanse” your body, but taking supplements that are used to treat constipation for a long period of time can hurt you.

Laxative Dependency

According to Cornell Health, long term consumption of laxatives may cause your bowels to stop working normally. It could leave people constantly constipated because of a developed dependence on laxatives.

Weight Loss?

You may feel lighter after drinking the teas a couple of times, but take note; you’re constantly making trips to the restroom or should I say “going through the detoxification process” which in turn will make you lose water weight and muscle mass, not fat. As easily as you may have lost that weight, it will come back when switching to a regular diet, but the muscle you lost won’t.

Lack of nutrients

Detox diets can lack in calories, causing you to have low energy for exercise. Diuretics are another ingredient found within some teas and they cause you to expel more water and salt from your body when you urinate.

Although the risk is low, excessive use of these drinks can lead to dehydration and cause a depletion of potassium in your blood, according to Mayo Clinic. These diets also lack in protein which is integral for building muscle and keeping people satisfied for a longer period of time.

Important note for the ladies

If you are drinking these teas and take contraceptive pills you should know that detox teas may reduce their accuracy. Laxatives cause contraceptive pills to be excreted before it can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

Multiple publishers such as:  ViceCosmopolitan and even FOX News have reported consumer’s accounts of unwanted pregnanacies after trying a detox diet.

Not all of these teas are bad, there are some which may help you reach your goals, but be careful and look at the ingredients. Although everyone’s body reacts differently to certain diets, it is important to keep this information in mind when making dietary decisions.  

For more information and references check out the links below. If you have more dietary questions, feel free to email Jenna Heller. She is a Dietitian working here at the SDFC.