Every few years, a new health and weight loss trend comes along to confuse us all. We wonder, Is this just a marketing gimmick? Could this be the answer to my weight loss dilemma? Can this really make me healthier?
With most of these trends, there are usually some underlying truths to the claim, along with quite a bit of misconceptions and out-of-proportion claims. Here is what you need to know about the popular “tea detox” programs you’ve been seeing.
Tea detox concoctions can result in weight loss… Sort of.
Many of these detoxifying tea blends contain senna leaf, which is a natural laxative. Senna can flush out your digestive tract, make your belly appear flatter, and even help you drop a few pounds on the scale. If your tea detox program recommends using the tea as a meal replacement, then you’re going to slash calories from your overall daily diet, and you probably will lose weight as a result.
The catch: The lost weight will probably return.
You won’t drink that tea forever, and eventually you will return to your old eating habits. The weight you lost will return, because you didn’t make a permanent change to your eating and exercise habits. Remember, temporary weight loss efforts result in temporary weight loss.
What about detoxing?
Detox teas are sold over the counter, and are not subject to the same scrutiny as prescription medications. There is some evidence that certain ingredients (like dandelion or milk thistle) can provide support to the liver and aid in the body’s natural detoxifying processes. Other ingredients, such as licorice, might aid in reducing body fat, but could pose a risk when used long-term. Daily licorice intake has been linked to high blood pressure, electrolyte imbalance, and some other pretty serious health conditions.
As for that senna leaf, remember what we said about it being a laxative? It will indeed give you the feeling of being “cleaned out” on a temporary basis. But no laxative should ever be used daily over a long period of time, as the habit can lead to dependency and even liver damage.
On a final note, some detox teas can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. And if your birth control fails, you can forget about weight loss for at least nine months!
The bottom line: Detox teas can be helpful, but only when used on a short-term basis. If you want to “clean out” before a beach trip and enjoy a flatter stomach, then go ahead and enjoy your detox tea. But don’t depend on these concoctions for more than a few weeks. For the key to real, long-lasting weight loss, schedule an appointment with us to discuss your goals and an appropriate nutritional strategy.