Drink Yourself Skinny?

Tea has its benefits, no doubt about it. Green tea is rich in antioxidants and can help improve your body’s natural cleansing functions. Black tea can help protect the lungs and may also reduce the risk of stroke. Oolong tea may lower cholesterol levels. Herbs often found in teas, such as ginger, lemongrass and dandelion, help support a healthy liver. But can certain teas result in a flatter belly, reduced bloat and weight loss? “Skinny teas’, or ‘teatoxes,’ are claiming that they can.

What is a teatox? It generally consists of a morning and a nighttime tea, to be consumer in combination with a clean diet throughout the day. Most brands guarantee weight loss over the course of the detox, which can last anywhere from 7 to 21 days.

Throngs of women around the world have bought in to the idea of skinny teas. Is this just another diet fad with disappointing results and potentially dangerous side effects, or do these teas actually do what they promise?

Taking social media by storm

‘Skinny tea’ is sweeping the globe and invading social media in a major way. In fact, SkinnyMe Tea and BooTea each have nearly half a million followers on Instagram.

Opinion leaders on social media are endorsing the various skinny tea brands to their millions of followers, flaunting impressive before and after photo results. Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and Victoria Beckham have  posted photos of themselves drinking skinny teas. Kendall Jenner went as far as to say that she drank up to 12 cups of detox tea per day during fashion week.

The hashtag #teatox has over 208,000 Instagram posts associated with it, with #skinnytea at 31,000, #skinnyme at 47,000 and #tinytea at 68,000.

Does science back it up? It doesn’t have to.

There is no published research to show that these teatoxes are safe or effective.  But here’s the thing- because they are dietary supplements and not food, they fit into a loophole which allows them to continue making these claims without backing them up with proof.

The ingredient of concern in the majority of skinny teas on the market is senna. It is approved by the FDA, but that does not meant it’s safe for everyone. Senna is a strong laxative typically used to treat severe constipation. Senna can cause damage to the stomach lining, cramps, diarrhea and abnormal bowel functions that can, over time, lead to heart problems and liver damage. According to the National Institutes of Health, there is no evidence that senna results in weight loss.

Despite what you may have heard, there is no medical need to cleanse or detox your body. Our bodies do a fantastic job of this already, and most experts agree that detox plans only result in the loss of water weight.

My experience

In an effort to give you the most accurate information, I tried a teatox… emphasis on ‘tried.’

Let me start by saying that there are a ton of skinny tea brands out there, and it’s fairly difficult to navigate the over saturated market. I did a fair bit of research, and I decided to go with BooTea’s 14 day detox. BooTea is based out of the UK and its teatox program includes a morning and nighttime tea. All of BooTea’s ingredients are all-natural and free of preservatives. BooTea also promises additional results like improved sleep quality, clearer skin and increased energy. Shipping was surprisingly fast and the packaging was cute. That’s about where my positive experience ended.

I can’t speak to the results because I did not stick with the program long enough to find out. Two days into the teatox, I experienced such extreme stomach cramping that I threw the remaining tea bags away.

The verdict

Can you drink yourself skinny? Probably not.

Nothing, not even the promise of a few dropped pounds, is worth subjecting your body to something that may damage it.

If skinny teas make you feel lighter and brighter (and not extremely ill,)  more power to you. As with anything you put into your body, I would advise reading up on the ingredients first and steering clear of teas that include the ingredient senna unless medically necessary.

When it comes to diet fads, the better option is always to eat clean and be consistent. Unfortunately, you are not going to drink a few cups of tea and wake up with abs.


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