The benefits of tea are vast and varied. From the grounding mid-afternoon ritual of the UK’s teatime to communal gathering places in the form of tea houses to the meditative, anxiety-reducing qualities of tea’s herbal compositions, tea connects us, grounds us, and aids in improving mental, physical, and emotional health.
Tea is a mainstay component of healthy living across cultures and contributes to the overall wellness of millions around the world. But for those who prefer other beverages or are not already black tea devotees, there’s a relatively new tea trend making waves: detox tea, specifically as an aid for weight loss.
Scores of high-profile influencers, celebrities, and wellness practitioners champion detox tea for weight loss. You may have stumbled across one of their enthusiastic endorsements on Instagram or YouTube. With so much fanfare, is there any substance behind this modality, or is detox tea just another celebrity fad or paid sponsored post? The answer, it turns out, is somewhere in between. Detox teas may bring short term weight loss results. However, this result is best understood in light of the tea’s ingredients, how those ingredients function within the body, and ultimately, how detox teas fit into a wholistic and healthy wellness strategy.
First, what is a detox tea and how is it different than other teas? Detox teas, “are a combination of various spices, botanics, and herbs that help your body get rid of toxins.” While the given ingredients in detox teas may vary from blend to blend, their common denominator is the presence of herbs that, “support a natural self-cleansing process.” Registered dietitian Alyssa Ardolino notes that detox teas contain ingredients, including nettle leaf, dandelion leaf, and senna leaf, that essentially “flush” the body, while sometimes also acting as an appetite suppressant.
Understanding this function of detox tea is crucial because it speaks to the proper integration of detox green tea into an overall healthy lifestyle and a carefully planned weight loss strategy. While some swear by detox tea’s efficacy for weight loss, this quick success is through shedding water weight due to the tea’s diuretic, laxative, or appetite suppressant qualities. Therefore, detox tea is most accurately understood as producing short-term results as your system is flushed, and not as a long-term weight loss approach; that is, simply consuming detox tea may produce disappointing results if one isn’t incorporating balanced eating habits and an exercise regimen that burns fat to keeps lbs. off for the long-term. However, when exercise and diet are addressed, then various other teas that support digestion and metabolism can produce a net gain for longer-term weight loss goals.
For example, certain teas may boost metabolism and help your body break down fats at an increased rate because they contain a type of flavonoid called “catechins.” Many teas also include caffeine, which increases energy use and results in the body burning more calories. Green tea mixtures also have demonstrated positive effects on body-weight management. Other teas, such as Oolong tea, known for supporting digestion, have been shown to decrease body fat content and reduce body weight through improving lipid metabolism.
Whether you decide to drink a specific detox tea, a caffeinated tea to boost your metabolism, or Oolong tea to support your digestion, remember that it’s always a wise idea to discuss your health regimen and weight loss goals with your doctor or a dietitian. As powerful as tea is, behind influencers’ reels and photos there are a host of personal trainers, dietitians, chefs, and support teams—not just a weight loss “silver bullet” detox tea. Understand your teas’ ingredients, their effects, and what your long-term goals and expectations are, and in every case, there is a tea to keep you company.