Step aside diet pills and meal replacement shakes, we’ve entered the age of the teatox.
As summer nears for us Southerners (hemisphere, that is) the ‘drop 5 kilos now’ ads are coming on
thick and fast, trying to cash in on women with body insecurities before the mercury rises and the
bikini bodies are all out on display. In particular I’ve noticed a disturbing number of detox tea
companies pop up lately, all showing amazing weight loss transformation photos and glowing testimonials about the success of their product. Cue my innate skepticism and bring on the teatox research.
Some of them promote “100% natural” ingredients and others are “formulated by experts”, my
favourite one even promised that you can “literally drink away your body fat”. Yeah. For reals. But
despite such convincing and intelligent advertising these detox teas are basically just an expensive
herbal drink that you’d be better of swapping for a regular mug of green tea (insert mock horror here).
Here’s the lowdown on why detox teas aren’t all they’re cracked up to be:
They are diuretics
I don’t just mean the urine in your bladder, but if taken in strong enough doses they can start
removing fluid from organs too. Given that our bodies are roughly 60-70% water there’s a lot of
potential for fluid loss, meaning the scales will show you that you’re lighter but your body fat level is exactly the same - not really the fat burning super elixir they're promising. You’re also likely to find yourself suffering nausea, headaches, dizziness and lack of concentration due to dehydration.
They are laxatives
If you look at the list of ‘specially formulated’ ingredients you’ll notice most detox teas contain senna – a natural laxative. This means that your body will expel whatever is in your bowel; water, faeces and natural bacteria. The intestinal tract contains approximately 2-3kg of good bacteria lining the bowel and anywhere between 2-10kg of faecal matter at any time, which is why genuine
testimonials talk about noticing a decrease in bloating – their abdomen is actually flatter because their intestines are now basically completely empty.
However removing the beneficial and protective bacteria compromises your ability to digest and
absorb nutrients and eliminate food-borne pathogens, and unfortunately this gut flora can take
months to properly replenish itself.
There’s an increasing amount of information strongly linking gut health to overall health, so anything that throws out our body’s delicate balance is a big no-no.
They specify following a low calorie diet and daily exercise
The tea companies recommend you do a teatox while following a healthy, nutritious diet and
performing daily exercise. You mean to tell me that people cleaned up their diet, stuck to a regular
exercise program, drank some tea and lost weight? MINDBLOWING. No seriously, someone please notify the scientific community of this groundbreaking discovery, I think everyone should be made aware of this. Oh wait…
Your body already has a detoxification system
It’s called your liver, and it does an amazing job of filtering and removing toxins without any herbal help. And while some of the teas may contain compounds shown to stimulate the liver, it would do its job just as well without the tea by simply reducing your consumption of agents that put a major strain on the liver – alcohol, illicit drugs, cigarettes, medications and excessive sodium.
The moral of the story is: yes, you will probably lose weight undertaking a detox tea program but it’s not as wonderful as it seems. And if you’re solely relying on the teatox to whip you into shape all that weight will come right back when the program stops.
There’s no magic pill, shake or even tea that can significantly raise your metabolism and help you
burn fat for good – that comes down to hard work in the kitchen and in the gym. So if you really
want to shed those last few kilos before summer starts put down the teatox, nourish and fuel your
body properly and smash it in the gym. You can put the money you save on tea into a new outfit to
show off your healthy, gorgeous bod.
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