Monday, February 11, 2013

Are diet teas safe and do they work? (Part 1)


Before/After results
The impulsive side of me decided to buy a detox tea on a whim. It goes against a lot of the material I've read that is opposed to natural therapies and detoxing but I feel to keep me motivated on my weight loss journey I will need a bit of a 'quick fix'. I have purchased a 28-day "teatox" from skinnymetea which includes a supply of loose tea leaves of which you have one teaspoon of every morning and colon cleanse teabags to be used every second night before bed.

I was swayed into spending $60 for this tea after seeing all the 'before' & 'after' shots on skinnymetea's instagram page and all the good feedback from customers. Some of the results were less noticeable but most users reported at least 2 kg(4.4 pounds) weight loss.

What concerns me about the 'teatox' is the colon cleanse tea bags which have a "laxative effect". Laxatives are meant to be used to combat constipation so using them in this way is technically incorrect use so users need to be very careful. This product is marketed to the general public and for healthy weight loss it seems 'ok' but essentially this teatox promotes the use of laxatives for weight loss which is what some people with eating disorders use to maintain dangerously low weight levels. I doubt your doctor or nutritionist is going to recommend it.

After doing my research on diet teas I had come to the conclusion that young girls(under 18) shouldn't use the tea as they are not mature enough and may use the tea inappropriately to get even more drastic results. I also concluded that people with eating disorders shouldn't take the tea either as they are likely to abuse it and those with anorexia and bulimia may actually be underweight already. I seemed to have forgotten that I have a mild eating disorder myself- binge eating disorder(not officially diagnosed). In saying that I will still be taking the tea but I shall be very cautious about it, hence why I've done a bit of research on the laxative effects of the tea bags. I believe I am at the maturity and emotional stage where I will use the tea appropriately plus I'd be too scared too use it in excess! [the toilet situation would be a mess!]

The main ingredient in the colon cleanse teabags is the Senna leaf and root which is a natural herbal supplement used to treat constipation but also a common ingredient in diet teas. From what I have read the weight loss caused by the herb is temporary so you would need to use exercise and a healthy diet to maintain your new weight. The Senna leaf and root may cause side effects in some people even if used correctly such as vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. If I experience any of these symptoms for more than a few days I will stop using the colon cleanse teabags, regardless of how much weight I think they may be causing me to lose. Prolonged and excess use of senna leaf and root may increase your risk of developing colon cancer(reference) and there have been four reported cases of death from use of diet teas by young women in the US(reference). Hopefully that scares you into using these teatoxes wisely if you're considering them!

Does the laxative-effect actually lead to weight loss?

According to Paul Kurtzweil, a public affairs agent for the FDA(The American Food & Drug Administration agency): 
"laxative-induced diarrhea does not significantly reduce absorption of calories. This is because the laxatives do not work on the small intestine, where calories are absorbed, but rather on the colon, the lower end of the bowel."
Wow. Perhaps I just wasted my money? I'll be posting part 2 of this post tomorrow explaining why I will still be taking this tea and the proper precautions you should take when drinking it.


4 comments:

Angie B said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I was seriouslly considering buying this SkinnyMe Tea after seeing all the feedback on Instagram but the price swayed me, after seeing this I probably won't use it unless I begin to develop some serious weight issues. This was very informative, love your blog by the way! Angelina xx

bonjourangelina.blogspot.com

Nikki said...

I'm curious to see how this goes... I personally don't think it's safe or teaches you proper eating but who knows... x

Kitty Kat said...

This is an appalling "weight loss" product. As you correctly pointed out, no doctor or nutritionist would recommend this - it is nothing more than a (strong) laxative. This doesn't represent healthy or sustainable weight loss. Terrible!

Julia said...

How did it go?