Tech & Science : The ‘weight loss' teas you've seen on Instagram are a scam, but there are teas with appetite-curbing benefits - - PressFrom - Australia
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Tech & Science The ‘weight loss' teas you've seen on Instagram are a scam, but there are teas with appetite-curbing benefits

20:32  06 november  2019
20:32  06 november  2019 Source:   businessinsider.com.au

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a group of people looking at a cell phone: People gather at Saidaiji Temple in Nara, Japan to drink green tea during the 'Shinshun O-Chamori-Shiki', or New Year Giant Bowl Tea Ceremony. People gather at Saidaiji Temple in Nara, Japan to drink green tea during the 'Shinshun O-Chamori-Shiki', or New Year Giant Bowl Tea Ceremony.
  • Tea, especially green and oolong, can do a body good. There's evidence it promotes healthy blood pressure and regulates appetite, too.
  • But drinking weight loss tea can be really dangerous. A lot of diet teas have laxatives in them that aren't meant to be used on a daily basis.
  • Some women have reported missing periods and even getting pregnant while on birth control after using detox teas.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Weight loss teas promise to boost your metabolism, burn away stomach fat, and even "teatox" your body.

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What tea marketers don't tell you is that drinking these brews might also be associated with more missed periods, unplanned pregnancies, and permanent gut damage.

Social media influencers can make thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars promoting these teas as fundamental weight loss strategies. But Instagrammers and YouTube stars are not required to vet, understand, or even actually drink the things that they post about.

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It turns out the heart-healthy teas that you might actually want to drink, which are scientifically-linked with good health outcomes, are both cheaper than a "teatox" detox tea and much safer for your body in the long run. Here's what to know.

Weight loss teas are a scam

a close up of a woman wearing a white shirt: Actress Jameela Jamil has been a vocal opponent of weight loss teas. Her online petition to end celebrity promotions of 'toxic diet products' on social media has garnered more than 244,000 signatures. Actress Jameela Jamil has been a vocal opponent of weight loss teas. Her online petition to end celebrity promotions of 'toxic diet products' on social media has garnered more than 244,000 signatures.

Detox teas don't do much in the way of helping people lose weight.

"If you want to 'curb your appetite' eat some damn green vegetables or have some nutritious natural vegetable soup," The Good Place star Jameela Jamil, who started a body-positive #iweigh movement on social media, said on Instagram last year, railing against the diet tea industry.

Jamil is correct that detox teas are not a science-backed way to lose weight. At best, they may lead to more urination and bowel movements, and at worst, they can do serious harm.

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Instagram told Insider that it recently began blocking weight loss product ads to Instagrammers under age 18. The platform also promised to remove from the platform any content that "makes a miraculous claim" about diet or weight loss.

"I've been working with Instagram all year towards this," Jamil said on her Instagram page after the new policy took effect on September 18. "If you're under 18, you will no longer be exposed to any diet/detox products, and for all other ages; all fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims will be taken down and easy to report."

People around the world have been drinking tea for thousands of years, and science suggests they may be on to something

Khertek Anchimaa-Toka et al. sitting at a table in a restaurant: People drink tea at a Taoist temple tea house. Szechuan Province, China. People drink tea at a Taoist temple tea house. Szechuan Province, China.

There is good reason why tea is considered the most popular drink in the world (after water).

In places around the globe where it's not always safe to drink out of the tap, making a well-boiled tea from leaves or ricewater can be a great way to stay hydrated, without getting any waterborne illnesses.

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But not all tea is created equal. Green tea is one of the healthiest options, studies suggest, because it may help lower blood pressure and is rich in plant chemicals called flavonoids.

Flavonoids are not unique to tea; they're also abundant in fruits (especially citrus), veggies, chocolate, and wine. The way that these plant chemicals work inside humans is still something of a mystery to science, but researchers have discovered that they tend to be associated with better vascular health, and what look like decent heart health benefits (hold the milk for best results, and go easy on the sugar).

Weight loss claims about tea are dubious, and too much tea can be bad for your kidneys

Weight loss claims about teas are more contentious. Many of the studies that people use to bolster diet tea claims have been done in mice, not people.

Some scientists are intrigued by appetite-regulating chemicalscalled catechins that are especially common in green and oolong tea varieties.

There is evidence that, at least for some people, drinking catechin-rich green tea can help burn more fat. But experts treat these findings with caution, as the studies tend to be small, the effects minimal, and the results not entirely conclusive. (Some research, for example, has only been performed on small groups of men, while other results find ethnic differences to the benefits of tea-drinking.)

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Another issue with bigger, population-based studies is that tea-drinkers tend to have healthier lifestyles overall, making it difficult to tease out how many of the observed health benefits researchers see in them are really from the tea they drink.

It is also possible to drink too much tea, no matter what kind. The plant chemical oxilate, abundant in tea, can prompt kidney trouble, if you consume glasses upon glasses (like, really a lot, say, 16) every day.

a cup of coffee sitting on top of a wooden table

Teas laced with laxatives won't help with weight loss, and can cause permanent organ damage

Some teas aren't "diet" at all, they're just emptying out your insides. Literally.

Many teas contain laxatives and diuretics, all-natural or not. Some of these teas are designed, quite simply, to get things moving out the back end, while others perpetuate dangerous myths about how they can prompt rapid weight loss.

"The 'weight loss' caused by a laxative-induced bowel movement contains little actual food, fat, or calories," the National Eating Disorders Association says on its website. "If the chronic laxative abuser refuses to re-hydrate, they risk dehydration, which further taxes the organs and which may ultimately cause death."

Drinking laxative-laced teas regularly can lead to laxative dependency, effectively shutting down a person's colon, and potentially damaging their liver, too.

Some of the other serious side effects of laxative use include fatigue, rectal bleeding, dizziness (often associated with dehydration), and weakness. That's why doctors recommend laxatives should only be used to treat constipation now and then, and not every day.

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Dieters who've tried one celebrity-endorsed "teatox" have complained to outlets including Vice and The Daily Mail that they were missing periods and getting pregnant while on birth control.

Green tea, on the other hand, is generally considered fine to drink during pregnancy, as long as sippers stick to a cup or less per day. (The caffeine in green tea, just like coffee, is linked with more premature babies and lower birth weights, when drank with abandon.)

Tea-drinking can be a healthy habit, but don't expect it to perform miracles

If you enjoy a little green tea, it can be a great and inexpensive way to stay warm, get some caffeine, and maybe even help regulate your appetite.

But tea can be dangerous when people use it to avoid eating real food. Diet teas don't work, and you'll stay far healthier eating a balanced diet, rich in nutrient-dense plants, without the gut-bomb diarrhoea-inducing diet cleanses.

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