In 2737 BC, a lonely tea leaf fell into Emperor Shen – Nung of China’s cup of hot water, and one of America’s favorite drinks was born. Today, tea from the Camellia sinensis plant is the most commonly consumed beverage worldwide after water. In fact, according to the Tea Association of the U.S.A. Inc., more than 158 million Americans are drinking tea on any given day.
The polyphenols and flavonoids found in tea help to decrease risk of many conditions including heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and obesity. Given these facts, it’s no wonder that the next big thing on the weight loss circuit is the Teatox. Teatoxes involve drinking 1 to 2 cups of a tea drink every day for 1 to 4 weeks. These teas are promoted by a long list of celebrities and claim to decrease bloating, increase energy, boost metabolism and rid the body of toxins.
Many companies advertise tea blends made from organic or all - natural ingredients. But in most cases, it’s very tricky to find an official list of ingredients or nutrition label for many of the products offered. Without these, it’s hard to say that the product is safe to use and will not cause an unpleasant reaction unless the company chooses to provide a disclaimer.
Another concern is that many Teatox companies use disputable evidence to support a claim that is only partially true. For example, Garcinia Cambogia, an ingredient in Fit Tea has been linked to modest weight loss and possibly appetite suppression. However, FitTea claims the Garcinia Cambogia will also help burn fat and “turn fat into glycogen”. These claims are not backed by science.
While many companies’ claims are a stretch from the truth, unexpectedly, they often encourage users to adopt a healthy lifestyle complete with a balanced diet and exercise. Interestingly, starting a “detox” encourages mindfulness when making food choices, which may have a positive impact on a weight loss journey.
So what’s the verdict? If you are healthy and not taking medications drinking a detox tea may not hurt you. But drinking the tea alone won’t help you lose any more weight than following a balanced diet and exercising. The body is designed to cleanse and renew itself. As long as your digestive tract, kidneys and liver function normally, there is no need to take anything to “cleanse” or “detox” your system. Finally, savvy shoppers should be leery of a product that doesn’t clearly state what’s in it and in what amounts.
Written by: Angela Stancil, MS, RD, LDN