Teatoxing: Things We Need to Stop Doing in 2017

Scroll through your Instagram crushes and favorite internet celebrities. At least one of them has posted an image of them grinning with a teatox of some kind. They might even have a few sentences on how they binged over the holidays but [X Tea] came to the rescue and they have a flat belly again. If you weren’t already thinking about your “holiday weight,” from the past couple of month chances are, you are now.

I have noticed that there tends to be an interest of detox teas peaking at the beginning of each year and during the summer months. It’s the best time to tap into such targeted audiences: people want to make a change at the beginning of the year. However, this time it doesn’t appear to be as popular before.

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[Source: Google Trends… A look into the interest of detox teas from Jan. 2012 to Jan. 2017]

Still, there are people buying it. Social Blade reveals a spike in Instagram followers for the Flat Tummy Tea Instagram account.

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[Source: SocialBlade as Jan. 11, 2017]

It might be old news to many, but I cannot stress enough that detoxing is not necessary. And it should never, EVER, replace standard diet and exercise. Many people often struggle to commit to a diet, making the idea of a quick fix very appealing. Marketing teams of such companies know this but as a communications professional, I take issue with products like this in particular. Because not only is detoxing extremely unnecessary, it’s also dangerous. PR teams for these companies are reaching out to influential people to encourage their fans to do something very unhealthy.

Why is it unnecessary?
On New Year’s Eve, Vox’s Julia Belluz told readers that detoxing is a scam, and unless you’re a heroin addict or experiencing alcohol poisoning, you don’t need it.

By definition, detoxing is a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances. The video attached to Belluz’s article recalls a 2007 study where scientists reached out to manufactures of detox consumer products to see if they could identify the toxin they hoped to eliminate. None of them had an answer. Obviously, the product you’re consuming isn’t detoxing anything.

As the video states, our bodies already have a wonderful detoxification system: your liver, colon, and kidneys.

Why is it dangerous?                                                                                                                            The main ingredient in many of these teas is senna, an FDA-approved nonprescription laxative. If you’re running to the bathroom quite frequently, you will lose some weight. However, there is no research linking laxatives to weight-loss.

In an interview with Teen Vogue, Dr. Karin Kratina noted if one experiences weight-loss from the teas, it’s likely due to a caloric deficit. Flat Tummy Tea in particular, the most popular brand, recommends a specific diet and lifestyle change while on the cleanse: stop drinking alcohol, eat fiber, cut out starchy veggies, exercise and eat less. Each of these things usually leads to weight loss on their own, therefore tricking many of their customers into thinking it’s the tea.

Consuming a natural laxative daily is not healthy. The United States National Library of Medicine warns the public to not use senna for longer than two weeks, “Longer use can cause the bowels to stop functioning normally and might cause dependence on laxatives. Long-term use can also change the amount or balance of some chemicals in the blood (electrolytes) that can cause heart function disorders, muscle weakness, liver damage, and other harmful effects.” As Teen Vogue points out, most of the teatox programs last 28 days, well over the period the US National Library warns its audience.

If you take birth control, it would also be wise to stay away from any teatoxing program. Women who drank the Bootea teas had unexpected pregnancies, as the laxative reduced the effectiveness of their birth control- stopping the pill being absorbed into the bloodstream. The side effects of the detox teas, specifically, rapid-weight-loss, have the potential to disrupt your menstrual cycle: delaying or even halting it altogether, Broadly reports.

Final Warning                                                                                                                                 Everyone who has ever felt insecure about their weight has struggled to keep it off successfully at one point in their lives. We all want that quick fix. But before you buy into the idea of restricting your diet or lifestyle for any period of time, understand that you are wreaking havoc on your health and you’re very likely to gain the weight back in a few weeks time. Lifestyle changes take time, there’s no getting around that. But ask yourself: what do you want to look like this time next year? Regardless of the answer, detoxing is not the solution.

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