What Is A "Tea Detox" And Does It Actually Work?
You've probably heard this phrase more than once in the past year. This weight loss fad is sweeping the nation, with everyone from your favorite celebrities- to your colleagues- flooding your Instagram feed with pictures of their favorite detox tea brand. Why is it such a popular trend?
Well, the ads claim that these detoxes (or "teatox"-es) will help you lose anywhere from 6-12lbs in just TWO WEEKS. Who wouldn't want to lose weight that quickly and easily just from drinking tea twice a day? It literally sounds too good to be true, and it sort of is.
What Is A Tea Detox?
There are probably hundreds of different tea detox brands you can buy; Skinny Mint, SkinnyMe Tea, Fit Tea, Skinny Tea, AmazeTea, etc. I tried an Australian brand called Thin Tea, mostly because of its reviews, natural ingredients, and cost.
The basics of most tea detoxes are the same: the website will give you the choice to purchase either a 14-day or 28-day detox. The detox is comprised of a packet of loose leaf tea (usually one packet for mornings and one for nights), which you brew yourself and drink once or twice a day. The tea is supposed to clean and detoxify your body, give you energy, increase your metabolism, reduce bloating, help with your complexion and, of course, help you to lose weight.
The tea itself is made up of a mix of herbs and spices. The ingredients in Thin Tea's morning tea contains fennel seed, nettle leaf, marshmallow leaf, dandelion root, and juniper berry. The nighttime tea contains organic peppermint, olive leaf, dandelion leaf, hawthorn leaf & flower, coleus root, organic apple, organic cinnamon, and ginger root.
Please be careful when purchasing detox teas as some actually contain laxatives. These can be harmful to your body for obvious reasons. Stay away from teas that contain senna, in particular, unless you'd like some nasty side-effects.
Where To Buy Detox Tea And How Much It Costs
As far as I can tell, these tea detoxes are simply sold online. I've never found one in a health food store or pharmacist, but maybe you can find one locally. However, all it takes is a Google search of "thin tea" or "tea detox" and you'll be looking at millions of results for sites to buy them on.
The costs vary from website to website. Thin Tea costs $34.95 (AUD) for the 14-day detox, and the 28-day one ranges from $50-$60. You can easily find coupons for the site online (or, if you hit the "back" button in the middle of your checkout, the site will helpfully provide you with a 20% off coupon if you finish the transaction), and once you make your first purchase, Thin Tea sends you coupons with a bi-weekly frequency.
Keep in mind that you'll also need to buy some "tools" to go along with your tea detox experience; namely, a tea strainer if you don't already have one (you can probably find one for $2-5 at stores like Target, Kmart, or Wal-Mart/Big W), and possibly a tea canister if you don't want to keep your tea in the zip lock bag.
Be careful when buying the teas online; research the company you're buying from- try searching for reviews on sites other than their homepage, and if possible, buy from a company someone you know has tried and had success with. As teatoxes have become more popular, there have also been scam sites, which just take your money and never send you any tea, or just send you something that's not really a tea detox at all. One of the companies I initially found looked good on their page, but when I looked at their Facebook, there were several posts from disgruntled customers who'd never received their tea at all. Do your research before putting in your credit card details!
How The Tea Detox Works
Once you've got a hold of your tea detox of choice and a loose-leaf tea strainer, it's time to start your teatox!
Thin Tea's detox works quite simply. In the morning, you brew yourself a cup of hot water, then put 1 teaspoon of the loose leaf "Detox Blend" (morning tea) in a strainer and let it steep for 3-5 minutes. Then remove the strainer and enjoy the tea. Throughout the day, you consume normal meals, though adhere to the special "diet" outlined on Thin Tea's website (which is a typical low-cal/low-carb diet, but more on that a bit later...). You also need to exercise for half an hour at some point in the day. Then, at night, you do the same with the "Fat Burn Blend" (nighttime tea), though you need to consume this tea right before dinner.
Repeat the cycle for the next 14 or 28 days and watch the fat burn right off.
Sure, this all sounds fabulous on paper- but, you're probably reading this wondering if Thin Tea or any of these tea detoxes actually work. After doing the 14-day Thin Tea detox, I can say: yes, I did lose weight. But did Thin Tea really do anything magical like its site claims? Not quite.
Here's the true story:
My Experience With Thin Tea
I drank Thin Tea for the full 14 days, without adding in any additional diet and exercise. I did lose 6 pounds in the two weeks, just as the website claimed. But I'm pretty positive the weight loss was water weight, as I regained the weight I lost pretty quickly after stopping the tea.
The one thing Thin Tea definitely made me do was use the toilet more. The morning tea really had a "flushing" effect, so to speak; I had to urinate a lot more often than usual, and it had the effect of a diuretic. Similarly, the evening tea did seem to help with bowel movements. Both the frequent urination and more-frequent bowel movements definitely flushed my system, and I'd probably attribute most- if not all- of my weight loss simply to using the toilet more often.
As far as the other benefits of Thin Tea, I'd have to say my results were mixed. I did notice that the bloating in my stomach went down quite a bit, but again, that could've been due to the fact that I was using the toilet a lot more. I don't have particularly "bad" skin to begin with, but I didn't notice much effect on my skin or complexion. I also didn't notice any sort of increase in energy. I can't say it really suppressed my appetite; at the very least, drinking a hot cup of tea before dinner filled me up a bit, but I could've had the same effect from drinking a cup of anything really- green tea, water, lemon water, etc.
I can say that the tea itself was pleasant enough. The morning tea has a mild taste- sort of like green tea- while the evening tea tastes more like a lavender or chamomile tea.
The Pros (And Cons) Of Doing A Tea Detox
You'll lose some water weight
You'll probably gain the weight back after finishing the teatox
It reduces bloating
It's pretty expensive
The tea tastes okay :)
You still have to diet and exercise- two things you'll need to do regardless of the tea
You may have negative side effects if you buy the "wrong" sort of tea (see above)
So Does Thin Tea Actually Work?
So, does a tea detox work? Does a tea detox help you lose weight?
In one word: no. No, you won't miraculously lose a bunch of weight.
Here's the thing: I don't really doubt the claims on the website, or even the testimonials. But the thing you have to keep in mind with Thin Tea and other detox teas, is that the results people are getting are in addition to doing a low-calorie/low-carbohydrate diet and exercise. Thin Tea's recommended eating plan is pretty much identical to any low-cal/low-carb diet you'd see. Those diets do work, of course, so really, any permanent weight loss result you get from doing Thin Tea + the diet, is really just the result of the diet itself, rather than drinking Thin Tea. In fact, you could still lose just as much weight (or more) but doing the diet alone, without paying $30-$60 to Thin Tea.
I won't say that Thin Tea is a complete gimmick, though. It's a good kick start to a more sustainable weight loss plan, I think. As I said, I lost the 6lbs just by drinking the tea alone, and if I'd kept dieting afterwards, that definitely would've been a nice jumpstart for my diet. It also truly did help with my bloating, and I felt a bit lighter after drinking it. Realistically, I could've had these same results from drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day, but for people who have a hard time drinking the recommended glasses of water a day, Thin Tea could be a good replacement.
In the end, I wouldn't necessarily recommend Thin Tea for weight loss. Like most fad diets, it's been sensationalized to do much more than it actually can. While Thin Tea definitely helps you lose water weight, it's the recommended diet and exercise plan that really leads to results and you can go on a diet and exercise without spending money on a tea detox.
Have you tried any of the tea detox plans? Share your success, or not-so-success, stories below!