By Matt Ruscigno, M.P.H., R.D.
Q: Are there any benefits to teatoxing?
A: Of all nutrition misinformation, the idea that one can “detox” to lose weight and get healthy is among the most popular and potentially most harmful. Proponents claim that you can “flush your system” by drinking special concoctions.
Teatoxing, a hybrid of “tea” and “detox,” adds a new twist to an old story: A special tea drunk twice a day will “remove toxins” and help you lose weight. The problem: There’s little scientific evidence that it works. In order to lose weight, you must reduce calorie intake. And “detoxing” is a premise with no scientific foundation to prove it’s correct. Our bodies regularly remove toxins through our liver and kidneys.
Many teatoxing teas contain senna leaf — a known herbal laxative. Consumers of the tea may have increased bowel movements which might give the impression of a detox. This could also result in weight loss, but not in a healthful way.
On a bright note, teatoxing plans also may include recommendations for healthy eating. One such program suggests eating a diet comprised of fruits, vegetables, beans, tofu, oats and brown rice. Now that’s a recommendation we can get behind — no special tea required.
(Reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition, a monthly publication of Belvoir Media Group, LLC. 800-829-5384. www.EnvironmentalNutrition.com.)