Do Detox Teas Work?

Thinking of teatoxing? Read this first!

tea made from tea rose petals in a glass bowl on wooden backgroun

Photo by: Krisanapong Detraphiphat/Getty Images

Krisanapong Detraphiphat/Getty Images

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Ate too much over the weekend or getting back on track with your healthy lifestyle? This is the time where you may reach for a special tea promising detoxification, weight loss and increased energy. But is sipping on detoxifying teas (aka teatoxing) worth the splurge? Here’s the good, the bad, and the possible ugly when it comes to detoxifying teas.

In General, Tea Has Many Benefits

Many tea companies know you are looking for the magic drink that can help rid your body of environmental toxins and other toxins your body may be picking up over time. The good news is that teas naturally contain flavonoids and catechins, which are powerful antioxidants. Research does show that tea also has health benefits including heart health, blood sugar control in folks with type 2 diabetes, and improved cognition.

Can Tea Be Detoxifying?

When it comes to detoxification and weight loss – sorry to be the bearer of bad news – there is zero science to back up those two claims. Amazingly your body is a true miracle and has been naturally set up with mechanisms to detoxify your body. Your liver, skin, kidneys and other organs rid the body of toxins and impurities that don’t belong – plus, they’re free and pre-installed.

What About Those Added Ingredients?

Some of the ingredients that tea companies add can potentially be dangerous. As the ingredients added to tea for teatoxing are considered to be “dietary supplements” companies don’t have to back up their claims with any science. Some of these ingredients include Guarana, Yerba mate and Garcinia cambogia. Guarana is a plant that naturally contains caffeine and taking the amount of Guarana typically found in detox teas may cause side effects like insomnia, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate and blood pressure, tremors and even delirium. Yerba mate can interact with several medications including antibiotics and some asthma meds, and Garchini cambogia can cause nausea, headaches, chest tightness, wheezing and digestive problems.

Bottom Line

If you’re buying expensive detoxing teas, your hard-earned money is probably being flushed down the toilet (literally!). You’re better off eating a balanced diet and letting your organs naturally detoxify your body – hey, it’s free! Do feel free to enjoy green or black in your diet so you can reap the benefits of the natural plant compounds that are found in tea.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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