Revealed: The Truth About Instagram's #1 Detox Tea Trend

Amy Lawrenson
PHOTO:

@kyliejenner

Detox tea for weight loss is the big new diet right now, and it all seems so easy! Drink tea, lose weight. Whether scrolling your Instagram feed or taking a walk down your local high street, it’s pretty difficult not to spot a detox tea for weight loss on your virtual or real world travels. I popped into Holland & Barratt only this morning and was confronted by a huge display of Bootea, and the same tea lines the shelves near the till point at my nearest Boots. Even Kylie Jenner got in on the act, flaunting her FitTea on Instagram.

At first glance, I’m tempted. A quick-fix 14-day detox to help ease me into the New Year minus a few pounds—very tempting indeed. But at what cost? These designer tea bags aren’t cheap (so there’s that cost), and while all the tea brands are careful to avoid any weight-loss claims, reading between the lines, it's clear that's the goal of more and more women sipping on these beverages.

Pinterest has seen a 407% increase in people saving detox tea ideas, be them store-bought or DIY, so with such a huge growing interest, we took it upon ourselves to call on three nutrition experts for their insights. We sent each of them the claims and ingredients for three of the biggest detox teas on the UK market and asked them to send us their feedback. What they had to say makes for an enlightening read. Keep scrolling to find out more about this growing trend in teas…

The Tea Breakdown

To kick things off, we called on Pandora Paloma, a food coach and founder of healthy events catering company Rooted London, who broke down the good (and the not-so-good) parts of each tea.

detox tea for weight loss diet

A Valid Tool for Weight Loss?

What’s clear from exploring these detox teas for weight loss and the brands that create them is that each encourages you to eat healthier and move more (no bad thing), which means you’re likely to see results anyway.

“It’s the sort of thing we've seen before,” says Peter Cox, clinical nutritionist at OMNIYA. “An example of this is in the medical field is the weight-loss pill. The recommendation with this was that it might help weight loss, but in conjunction with dietary control and exercise, when in actual fact it was the dietary control and exercise that actually caused the weight loss, not the drug or the active ingredients. So the question with these teas is will they have an effect on their own? And the answer is almost certainly not.”

In other words, you won't be able to mainline junk food, drink the tea and see results, that's never going to happen and even the tea brands themselves understand this, hence the encouragement for exercise and healthy eating.

The other issue is how much serious testing have these teas undergone? “These teas have quite novel combinations of herbs, and those combinations are probably largely untried and tested,” warns Cox. “Yes, these teas all contain renowned herbs with known benefits that can potentially ‘detox.’ The problem with a tea is we don't know how much of the active ingredient there is and if there's enough of it to have a significantly beneficial effect.”

Also, as highlighted by Paloma above, some contain diuretic and laxative ingredients, so it’s likely any weight loss or de-bloating is caused by loss of water and most certainly not fat. Jennifer Beecroft, a registered Nutritional Therapist (bee-nutrition.co.uk), agrees, “All of the teas contain caffeine, a stimulant that temporarily increases metabolic processes and energy levels, as well as suppressing the appetite. Caffeine is also a diuretic and encourages the kidneys to excrete additional fluid. Bootea and Skinny Teatox contain dandelion and nettle leaves, which also have diuretic properties.

“Senna leaves and psyllium seeds found in Bootea act as laxatives, increasing the water content and frequency of bowel movements. Excreting additional water will lead to weight loss through an undesirable state of dehydration; a reduction in bloating will cause a temporarily flatter stomach, but neither of these should be confused with a reduction in excess body fat, which requires the intervention of dietary and lifestyle modifications.”

On the plus side, Beecroft states, “All three teas contain ingredients to support the digestive system and to potentially reduce bloating, such as ginger and peppermint.”

So is it worth spending what little money you have in January on these teas? Cox isn’t adverse to you drinking them, at least in the short-term: “If you were a client of mine, I'd be inclined to say ‘Try it, see how you feel.’ But I wouldn't recommend taking them indefinitely or over a long period of time without actually identifying the effect or knowing the levels of the active ingredients.”

“Motivation to be healthy is likely to be boosted initially due to weight loss achieved from additional fluid excretion, plus the energy hit from the caffeine,” explains Beecroft. “But these are only temporary effects.”

While many of us are after that much-needed motivation, and if we're being real here, a quick fix, Paloma rightly says, “Eating well should be a way of life, not a quick fix, because very often you’ll just put the weight back on.”

If your goal is to lose weight, Paloma recommends this: “Eat more greens, more rich-coloured fruits and vegetables, cut down on stimulants such as alcohol, which has a vast amount of hidden calories, and exercise more. The reality is, if you're eating healthier foods, cutting back on your usual diet and exercising your calories in versus energy out will mean you’ll be in a position to lose a couple of pounds.”

Okay, so it’s not as exciting as the prospect of losing weight with a detox tea, but it will see you right in the long-term.

Next up! See what happened when one Byrdie editor tried the Kardashian-approved FitTea.

Opening image: @isabellath

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