Detox teas aren’t all the same, here’s everything you need to know
Recently, host and actor Jameela Jamil criticised rapper Cardi B’s promotions of detox teas on social media. While Cardi B wrote “getting this momma bear bod right” implying that it helped her lose weight post delivering her daughter Kulture, Jamil expressed concern about how these teas have the potential to cause serious side effects. “Detox teas can trigger a laxative effect. Many herbs that are part of such detox teas can lead to serious issues. Actually, all natural substances can have potential side effects, especially if they’re overused,” says Hetal Chheda, holistic nutritionist and founder, Your Health Nutrition Clinic.
So are the marketing claims that drinking such teas will make you feel lighter and energised, fake? Not entirely, according to Meera Bangera, health expert, Talwalkars. “The sudden weight loss is either due to loss of body waste or water loss from the body, which is temporary. It gives the stomach a flat appearance. The day you stop drinking the tea, the weight will bounce back,” she says, adding, “It doesn’t matter whether you drink green tea, black tea or detox tea. Most of the teas have caffeine in it, which wakes your body up, makes you feel energised and elevates your mood.”
Dr Chandan MC, senior ayurvedic physician, Ananda in the Himalayas, shares some of the drawbacks on being overly or entirely dependent on such detox teas:
1. Detox teas aren’t controlled and they’re not all the same, making it hard to know what’s actually in them.
2. Some contain laxatives, such as senna, which force out water and waste. It should only be used for short-term relief of constipation. But many of these teas are recommended to be consumed for weeks at a stretch, when constipation isn’t a problem. It doesn’t take long for laxatives to cause problems if you’re using them when you don’t need them.
3. Laxative teas could interact and stop medications from working, which is incredibly dangerous.
4. They affect the chemicals in the blood (electrolytes) and your gut can become lazy as a result, which means you would then need to continue using laxatives for long term and become dependent on them.
5. Prolonged usage of detox teas have reported to cause the contraceptive pill to stop working.Few detox teas containing medium to high levels of caffeine can affect your sleep cycle.Going to the toilet too quickly after eating means the gut isn’t getting the opportunity to absorb food which means vitamins and minerals aren’t being absorbed by the body either.
6. Various teas have natural diuretic properties, causing an increase in the production of urine leading to headaches, dizziness, frequent urination and dehydration. As a whole, detox teas are very safe, natural, and can provide real help for those looking to lose weight and cleanse.
One should definitely not count on such ‘teatoxes’ for miraculous results. Tea sommelier Dr Rupali Ambegao Kar says, “A detox cannot miraculously cure you from diseases or help you drop the kilos overnight. They can only assist you in flushing out the toxins from the body or in easing digestion.” Kejal Sheth, nutritionist and founder of nutrivity. in, recommends some of the teas that can complement your workout regimen for a healthy weight loss process.
With its high antioxidant content, hibiscus tea helps to reduce the inflammatory state in the body. It also helps lower blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
Lemon balm tea
It belongs to the same family as peppermint. It improves digestion process and aids in timely bowel motion. Furthermore, it purifies the bloodstream and controls the level of hunger hormones.
Cinnamon tea has been the new buzz for burning the abdominal fat. It aids digestion in the body and prevents fat accumulation.
This green tea is highly concentrated with antioxidant molecules like catechins. These molecules boost the metabolism and thereby play a role in effective weight loss.
A kind of fermented Chinese black tea, it is usually consumed after a meal. Interaction between good bacteria and un-dried tea leaves promote suppression of fat synthesis in the body, thereby causing a significant weight loss.
It is a little different from the white or green tea in the way its offers health benefits along with weight loss. Black tea contains polyphenols which boost metabolism by production of short chain fatty acid in the gut.
With inputs from Luke Coutinho, holistic lifestyle coach- integrative medicine and Dr Siddhant Bhargava, fitness and nutritional scientist.