Slimming tea: Does it work and is it bad for you?

Slimming teas are often advertised as a way to lose weight and cleanse the body. The theory is that the tea stimulates digestion, aids metabolism, and, in some cases, rids the body of impurities.

There are many varieties of slimming tea to choose. All of them try to satisfy a person’s desire to lose weight.

Fast facts on slimming tea:

  • Many slimming teas claim to help detox the body.
  • The body naturally rids itself of toxins, making a tea that claims to do this unnecessary.
  • Teas like black, white, green, oolong, and pu-erh all contain antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases when they are drunk regularly.
  • Slimming teas contain added ingredients that may be harmful.
  • There is little to no legitimate evidence that any slimming tea is effective in supporting long-term weight loss.

Types

Five cups of herbal teas in a row, including rosehip, nettle, and dandelion tea.

There are various different types of slimming teas available, with different flavors and properties.

Typical types of slimming tea include:

  • appetite suppressors
  • fat blockers
  • metabolism boosters

The theory behind weight loss with slimming tea is that the natural ingredients will:

  • help suppress appetite
  • help the body release toxins
  • help burn more calories

Advertisers focus on the speed of the weight loss, with immediate weight loss being observed in some cases. However, most weight loss that people experience is caused by either loss of water or loss of solid waste.

Effectiveness

There is very little evidence that slimming tea is effective.

In fact, class action lawsuits have been filed against companies who sold their teas as weight loss supplements. At least two lawsuits involved companies whose advertising made false claims about the effectiveness of their tea in aiding weight loss.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not recognize any slimming tea as being effective.

Some ingredients, such as caffeine and senna, are recognized by the FDA for different reasons.

Caffeine is recognized as a stimulant with no major effect on weight loss. Similarly, senna is recognized as an ingredient that causes large intestine irritation and can be used as a mild laxative.

Most positive reviews of slimming tea can be found either on sites that sell the product or that promote a naturalist lifestyle. Some point to small studies that have been conducted.

However, there is a substantial lack of evidence to support the claims that slimming tea affects weight loss.

Health concerns

There are some health concerns that people considering using slimming teas should know.

Though most ingredients are benign, there are some that may cause severe side effects in certain people.

Some of the potentially harmful ingredients or side effects may include:

Laxatives

Woman pouring tea into a cup.

Slimming teas may contain laxatives and diuretics, which may cause health complications.

Some slimming teas contain senna, a natural laxative. The FDA state there have been reports of problems associated with drinking slimming teas, containing senna.

The FDA indicate that users report symptoms similar to those seen in people with laxative abuse disorder, which include:

  • cramping
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • aggravate constipation
  • dependency
  • weakened colon
  • reduced potassium levels, which is dangerous for people with heart problems

Diuretics

The FDA have also issued statements warning about how many slimming teas contain diuretics. Diuretics can lead to:

  • dehydration
  • electrolytes loss or fluctuations, causing cardiac arrhythmia and death
  • muscle cramps
  • diarrhea
  • fluid loss followed by fluid regain

Increased metabolism

Many slimming teas claim to boost the metabolism, but research regarding the additives found in slimming tea is very limited.

That said, the polyphenols found naturally in green and black teas have shown some promise in assisting with weight loss and metabolic improvement in animal and human studies.

Any benefit seen from slimming tea is more than likely a result of the tea itself, not the added “slimming” ingredients.

Risks

Besides the potential side effects mentioned above, the ingredients found in slimming teas:

  • vary and may contain potentially problematic ingredients
  • are not controlled by any regulatory agency, such as the FDA
  • may interact with a person’s medication

The FDA warn against the use of most dietary supplements, including slimming teas, mainly due to a lack of reliable studies and evidence of their safety or effectiveness.

The FDA also report increasing complaints from consumers who have used slimming teas and other natural weight loss supplements.

Safe alternatives

Spinning class in gym, with three individuals exercising on bikes.

Most nutritionists and health professionals suggest that exercise and diet management are the keys to weight loss.

The companies that make slimming teas often target people who are desperate to find a solution that works or who want to lose weight quickly.

In most cases, it is not likely that slimming teas will do anything more than create a placebo effect or mild weight loss followed by quick weight regain.

In other cases, slimming tea may actually prove harmful.

However, teas without added “slimming” ingredients offer a great solution for tea lovers and may provide some excellent health benefits.

Most health professionals agree that weight loss is affected primarily by diet, exercise, environment, and reducing calorie consumption.

Before starting a slimming tea or any other dietary or exercise change, people should consult their doctor.

Safe weight loss can be achieved with the proper combination of exercise and dietary changes, which does not necessarily include supplements.

Exercise

Most people can safely exercise several times a week. Though many focus on cardio, building strength is an essential part of reducing fat.

It is important for the person to know their physical limits before starting any exercise program.

Diet

Diet is often mistaken for dieting. A well-balanced diet, which emphasizes fruits and vegetables and avoids overly-processed foods containing added sugars and trans fats, can help a person lose weight over time.

People can see a reduction in body fat through changes in their diet without using supplements.

Takeaway

Recent research confirms the various health benefits of black or green teas. Slimming tea, however, should be used with caution.

It is a good idea to consult a doctor or other healthcare provider with no ties to selling slimming tea before using any product.

A person should also do as much research as possible to find out about success rates, complaints, and potential side effects of the product they are considering.

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