Weight loss teas: to buy or not to buy?

My answer?


My friends and family members ask me this question all the time. They snap a pic of a tea promising to help reduce their appetites, flatten their bellies, or make them lose weight in X amount of days, and they ask me if it works.

I have never tried a weight loss tea, and I don’t have to try one in order to know what ingredients are used, to understand why people think they work, and to realize that they’re a scam.

So, why don’t I like weight loss teas?

Let me begin by saying what most people do not want to hear. Anything that promises to be an easy, quick fix for weight loss is 99.9% of the time not going to work (that .1% is left for radical surgeries). If you want longterm, sustainable results, you have to eat healthy foods and move your body. Gotta put in the work to get those results, girl!

When you see ads for weight loss teas, your instincts are probably telling you that it’s too good to be true. All you have to do is drink a tea and the pounds will slide off?! Well, your instincts are right.

These tea brands are not required to actually prove any claims they make about the teas’ effects, which means there is no real scientific evidence backing them up. They also usually have warning labels attached – warnings to only drink the tea for certain amounts of time and warnings to only use them under certain health conditions. When you see a warning label on a TEA, an alarm should immediately go off in your head. AVOID.

In order to understand why some people might think they are getting results from drinking weight loss teas, let’s get into what these teas are actually doing to your body. While there are many different brands of detox / weight loss teas, most of them consist of a two-part system. Usually, you drink one type of tea in the morning and another at night. The morning tea claims to give you energy, reduce your appetite, and boost your metabolism. Meanwhile, the nighttime tea claims to cleanse and detoxify your body.

Kay, let’s get real here.

We’ll start with the morning tea. Usually, the A.M. tea is made from a blend of different caffeinated teas to give you “energy” throughout the day and boost your metabolism. Caffeine acts as a diuretic, as does dandelion root, another common ingredient found in these teas. So you’ll pee a lot, and you might lose some water weight from all that peeing. And you’ll have “energy” from the caffeine. Some studies suggest that caffeine speeds up metabolism, but others suggest the opposite. Basically, it’s iffy to depend on caffeine to boost your metabolism.

Then we’ve got the nighttime tea. The ingredient in most of these nighttime teas that is meant to “detoxify” your body is Senna, a laxative herb. Let me repeat that – herbal laxative. So, yep, it will make you poop (so you’re losing “poop weight”), and it irritates your gut lining in the process. Using Senna can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, headaches, vomiting, and dehydration. Your colon might grow to depend on this laxative to have a bowel function, which means you could get severely constipated if you stop using it. Basically, it totally screws up your digestive system. Longterm use of Senna can even mess with the electrolyte balance in your body, which can put your liver, muscles, and heart at risk. Phentermine in the form of pills and capsules is used in some countries to treat obesity. It shows sympathomimetic properties and stimulates the psyche. When taken in the recommended doses, it helps to reduce appetite, increases activity and blood pressure.

These teas have been known to cause other serious issues as well, although most of the examples are testimonial. There are accounts of women having to go to the hospital because of the laxative and dehydrating effects of these teas. Many women have also complained of disrupted menstrual cycles after doing a “teatox”, which might be a result of the stimulants in the teas messing with women’s sex hormones.

Let’s go over why, exactly, people claim that they’re losing weight with these teas.

  1. Please please please realize that celebrities and social media influencers get paid to post about tea brands. Like, a lot of money. This is just a basic credibility-checking rule: always check the trustworthiness of your source!
  2. Maybe they actually are losing weight from these teas. BUT, what kinda weight is it? It could be water weight. It could be weight from all the poop leaving their bodies from the laxative-like ingredients in the tea. It could be muscle weight if drinking the tea causes the person to undereat.In any of these cases, it’s not the kind of weight you want to lose, and it’s temporary. Water weight fluctuates, and losing water weight probably isn’t the kind of weight loss you’re looking for if you’re turning to these teas. Depending on a laxative to maintain your weight is NOT healthy in any way, shape, or form, as I’m sure your instincts are already screaming at you. Losing muscle weight is also definitely NOT what anyone wants. Muscle weight is good weight – it keeps our metabolisms pumping, makes us burn more fat, and makes us look toned.

The one positive about these teas is that they encourage people to drink more water, and drinking more water will do amazing things for your body, skin, and brain. You don’t have to drink a specific “detox” tea for those benefits, though. You just need H2O!

There is no need to do anything fancy to “detox” your system. Drink enough water, eat real, whole foods, and move your body. Your body will naturally take care of the rest. (Unless you have a medical condition, which is a different story. And in that case, you should DEFINITELY not be trying to drink any “detox” teas!) It’s all about a healthy lifestyle. 

If you’re looking for health benefits from tea, go for good ole’ green tea. Green tea has a ton of antioxidants, has been shown to speed your metabolism, and will give you a bit of extra energy throughout the day without screwing up your digestive system. Plus, it’s DELICIOUS!

If you’ve ever tried a detox/weight loss tea program, I’d love to hear about your experience. If not, let me know what your favorite teas in general are! XO

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