By Jasleen Grewal & Saheb Sandhu
Kin Korner is a health and wellness column by the students of Joanna Sheppard’s Kinesiology 360 class. Check back every week for a wide variety of tips and tricks on how to stay sane as a student in an insane world.
Detox teas should be avoided for a number of reasons. Whether it’s FIT Tea, SkinnyMint, or T-tox, society is bombarded with images of thin, beautiful people “detoxing” with tea.
Celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Snooki, and Hilary Duff all endorse these teas through their social media accounts, and many fitness models who’ve found fame on Instagram are also encouraging young adults to follow the “FIT Tea” craze. As influencers like these tend to look aesthetically pleasing, many consumers are easily duped into purchasing the teas.
Detox has become a colloquial term, but what does it even mean? Originally, detoxification alluded to the series of metabolic reactions that are involved in excreting foreign chemicals, but later was used as a term describing withdrawal from substance abuse. In today’s age, the term detox is used in relation to dietary routines that eliminate toxins from the body. These teas supposedly help you lose weight, increase energy, and cleanse the body, and are sold at the rate of anywhere between $5 to $100 per box.
Detox tea diets often include consuming large amounts of tea every day, and can last anywhere from one to 28 days. There are a few different approaches to detox teas that include fasting, consuming only juices and liquids for a few days, eating only certain foods, using the tea with dietary supplements, or a combination of these.
The way that these teas are being related to weight loss and detoxification is relatively new. However, scientifically, the breakdown is simple. The liver is a vital component in a healthy body and is responsible for the filtering of blood, plus removing toxins such as drugs and alcohol, fighting infection, recycling old blood cells, and repairing damaged tissue, just to name a few. The liver is already extremely efficient at getting rid of any harmful substances that may be accumulating.
There are also many safety concerns linked with drinking detox teas, as they are linked with liver failure. With the low calories, and copious amounts of water consumed, tea drinkers may see quick changes in weight. This drop in weight is due to a diet change and/or increasing physical activity. Seeing this result can lead people to believe that the tea works, which can in turn lead to dependency, possibly an eating disorder, water and electrolyte imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, and disruption of the digestive system. Another trick detox teas use is adding laxatives to the tea, which is why many see an initial weight loss.
Today, there is no evidence that suggests that detox diets are efficient for weight loss or toxin elimination, as most of the research on the subject supports the fact that the teas are very flawed. The possible negative effects are much more significant, and clearly display that more research needs to be done for these types of diets to be considered safe and effective. So, before you put down a handful of your hard-earned cash on a dietary or health fad, be sure to know the facts.