Welcome to my new series for the new year, “The Truth About…” I’m super excited about it, as it’s one of the big parts of my resolution to bring quality information to Sense of Aesthetic. In this series, my aim is to demystify certain myths that are connected with clean beauty or ethical fashion. And in doing so, I hope to get info into your hands so that you can become a well-informed consumer and thus hold on to some of your hard-earned dollars.
So I begin “The Truth About…” series with kind of a softball: Detox Teas.
When I first joined Instagram just under a year ago, there was a huge push to sell detox teas. And considering where my mind was at the time, I was curious about them. I was a sort of, “I’ll try anything once” dieter (have we all been there?) and click on link after link to see what all the fuss was about.
After all, these tea companies claimed to be selling an ‘all-natural’ product. You only have to drink two cups of tea a day (that’s easy for me — I usually clock in around five) and you only have to follow the regime for two to three weeks. At the end, you will have targeted that area that perhaps most women feel self-conscious about: the stubborn lower belly. What could be easier?
Most of these ‘detox’ systems comprise of two teas: a harmless morning tea and the nighttime tea. From what I’ve seen, most the nighttime are indeed all-natural, but they contain one dangerous ingredient: senna.
At the time, that one ingredient threw up a red flag for me. I already knew what the ingredient was, since at my house we keep a small box of it in case of …emergencies. It, like the tea, works overnight. It usually expires before we use it all up. And when you do use it, well, things in the digestive system better be pretty pretty bad and you’d better cut that tablet in half, because you’re in for the worst night of your life.
In other words, senna is a natural (and powerful) laxative. So why is that bad news for detox teas?
The Bad News
Using laxatives to lose weight, even for less than a month, can contribute to numerous negative health effects. Not only do these teas cause to lose only water weight (which also includes vital minerals and electrolytes) which will come back immediately after you stop drinking the tea, but it can lead to organ damage, contribute to colon cancer and create a reliance on laxatives to eliminate waste at all!
Lose yet, if you are buying these teas on a continuous basis, you may have been duped out of more than your money! Reliance on laxatives like senna (or even prunes) for weight loss is actually considered a type of eating disorder. So when I first found out that senna is the active ingredient in these “detox” teas, you can understand why I was hot under the collar! These companies, such as SkinnyMint and their celebrity endorsers (the first Ad that pops up when I typed in ‘detox teas’) are duping their customers into acquiring an eating disorder!!
When you see pics on Instagram or elsewhere of before and afters, just be aware that the two torso shots are likely of two different people. And if they are not, then you can be assured that when detox tea time was over, all of that weight came right. And given our body’s natural defensive properties against starvation, likely more.
Yeah, there’s no way she actually drinks that tea. I’d write more about celebrity endorsements versus the reality of struggling with unhealthy BMs, but I don’t want to come off as catty…
The Good News
The good news, if there is any, is that many other brands create ‘detox’ teas that do not contain senna. They’ve just marketing their teas in this way in order to cash in on the detox tea craze. Brands such as The Honest Leaf carry a detox tea that is for healthy balance, and so does not contain senna.
Drinking herbal, green, white, red, fruit, oolong or black teas can be supportive of good health. Matcha is said to help in maintaining a healthy weight. Other green teas are reputed to keep you young, and oolong is said to help with fat burning — especially after a big meal. If you do want to add teas to your diet, look for high quality companies and brands that are not trying to sell you a diet plan. Or even better: keep your money and throw some fresh lemon & ginger slices into hot water and make your own ‘detox’ tea! 🙂
Like everything connected to nutrition, teas are not the only answer. And they definitely won’t do much good if you’re eating a high calorie, high fat diet and are sedentary. Try instead to find physical activities that you enjoy. Try tracking nutrient balance rather than calories, and focus on how strong you’re becoming rather than how much weight you’re losing. If you do all that, and want teas to help support what you’ve already accomplished, have at it! Just be sure to check those ingredients, and stay far away from senna or anyone selling it as a diet!
That’s it! What do you think of the new series? Are there any clean beauty or ethical fashion myths that you’d like me to debunk? I’ve got a lot up my sleeve for the coming weeks, but I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!