Another day, another fad detox. While tea has many healthful benefits, it is now being leveraged as another miracle liquid diet. Let’s break down the facts.
Way back in 2737 BC, a lonely tea leaf fell into a cup of hot water for China’s Emperor Shen-Nung, 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, more than 158 million Americans are drinking tea on any given day.
Science has proven that tea packs some key ingredients that have been linked to better health. The polyphenols and flavonoids found in tea help decrease the risk of many health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and obesity. With detox diets and cleanses being such a hot item on the market right now, it’s no wonder that the next big thing on the weight loss circuit is:
Teatoxes generally involve drinking 1 to 2 cups of a special tea drink every day for 1 to 4 weeks. These teas are promoted by a long list of celebrities, with most claiming its abilities to decrease bloating, increase energy, boost metabolism and rid the body of toxins.
But are these teas really worth all the hype? Let’s explore further.
NATURAL IS GOOD, RIGHT?
Many teatox (or ‘tea detox’) 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. It’s also difficult to know if there is an ingredient in the product that will cause an unpleasant reaction unless the company gives a disclaimer.
STRETCHING THE TRUTH.
Often there may be some disputable evidence to support the role of some of the ingredients found in the tea. But companies often use real evidence to support a claim that is only partly true. For example, Garcinia Cambogia, an active ingredient in Fit Tea, has been linked to modest weight loss and possibly appetite suppression through its role in increasing serotonin. However, the company claims the Garcinia Cambogia will also help burn fat and “turn fat into glycogen”. These claims are not backed by science.
STAYING MORE HEALTH-CONSCIOUS.
The good news is that while many companies’ claims are a stretch from the truth, they often encourage users to adopt a healthy lifestyle complete with a balanced diet and exercise. And like using other weight loss programs, the mindset adopted while “detoxing” will likely make you more aware of what you eat and drink. In turn, making mindful food choices will benefit you if you are on a weight loss journey.
So what’s the verdict?
The bottom line: If you are pretty healthy and not taking any 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.
You should also keep in mind that 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, any savvy shopper should be leery of a product that doesn’t clearly state what’s in it and in what amounts.
Adapted from the original article.
Angela Stancil MS, RD, LDN is a Memphis-based Registered Dietitian and food enthusiast who believes all people can learn how to fit healthy, nutritious foods into their lifestyles. Through her media work, she focuses on bringing nutrition education and science to the public that is personalized and easy to understand.