Teatoxing: Give me a break!

Get ready for the onslaught of stories about how to get ready for bathing suit season. If it aggravates you as much as it does me, check out this great blog post entitled, “How I Finally Got A Bikini Body. Want a bikini body? It’s easier than you think to get one.

Bathing suit season is the hook for the latest detox craze: teatoxing.

Yup, move over juice cleanses and Master cleanse.  The teatox is here. Celebrities are doing it so it must offer some benefits, right?  Teatoxing seems to be capitalizing on the healthy reputation of tea combined with the concept of downing some kind of food or supplement to detoxify your body. And it seems to be everywhere.

My email box is filled with promotions by PR companies touting products with ingredients such as Garcinia cambogia, the same herbal so-called weight loss remedy that led to lawsuits against Dr. Oz. Other claims tout teatox products as “bursting with antioxidants to help expel harmful toxins from and cleanse the body. The diuretic and digestive properties in this tea aid in efficiently accomplishing this detoxification to help get the drinker into bathing suit form fast.”

I’ve never heard that action before being described for antioxidants.

Teatoxing was recently on television’s Canada AM with a certified tea sommelier, Sheena Brady,  explaining the purported benefits.  She pointed to there being both a daytime  and a night time blend. Why two different drinks? Because there is no “wonder drink that will do everything for you”.  But the two combos together are wonder drinks?

Give me a break.

The daytime concoction is supposed to do three things: help boost your immune system, increase energy and boost your metabolism.  Now science does show that plant products such as yerba mate (which is in the daytime blend) and green tea do have beneficial effects. Both, like coffee, contain caffeine and antioxidants  but  here’s just one example of  what I have issues with.  Brady stated that if you add  some lemon juice into your drink first thing in the morning,  it will “amplify flushing out those toxins even more”.

We don’t need supplements, teas, foods or any kind of cleanses to flush toxins out of our bodies. We have built in detoxifiers. Our kidneys function  as filters for our bloodstream, processing about 200 litres of blood daily  to  remove waste products and excess water by means of your urine.   Our livers also breakdown toxins in the body.  Then there is our gastrointestinal tract which rids the body of waste through bowel movements.

The night time blend  contains senna leaves, a laxative which  Brady states  will get your digestive system on the right track.  She notes it’s especially helpful for when you’ve eaten a lot and feel bloated. The tea will then “work its magic”.  She says it will help to cleanse the colon and the digestive tract.

As a dietitian, when I hear someone talk about taking laxatives after eating and feeling bloated, I think of eating disorders such as bulimia. Now this not what she’s promoting but I have to say that suggestions such as this really strike me the wrong way.

As well, just because a laxative is natural doesn’t mean it’s something you consider using for promoting bowel regularity. Sure, if you have to prep for a colonoscopy, a laxative will be a must. But for a healthy gut, bowel regularity should be the result of a fibre-filled eating plan along with plenty of water.  Laxatives can disturb the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut, and when you consider the research showing the growing list of health perks of a healthy microbiota (those beneficial  bacteria), a laxative is the last thing you want to take unless it’s medically necessary.

To be honest, after watching this segment, I have to say that when these products are being promoted in the media, I don’t think it’s too much to expect the interviewer to ask some questions about the science  behind the claims. Or at least, express even the slightest bit of skepticism rather than appearing to promote all the positives. It’s simply not the same as a cookbook author presenting his or her latest creations.

Just sayin’.

Have you heard about teatoxes? What’s your take on them? Please share in the comment section below.

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Categories: Food Safety, Food Trends, Rosie's Rants

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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8 Comments on “Teatoxing: Give me a break!”

  1. April 13, 2016 at 6:20 am #

    Yes, yes, YES! Thank you! I HATE it when companies come out with this rubbish about how amazing this wonder new diet pal is to lose weight. It just amplifies the flipping problem because people think they just need to wait around for science to catch up!

    “Expel harmful toxins” as if you’re full of dirty pipes like an underground sewer system and it’s your responsibility to make sure you flush out such nasty intestinal bacteria among others. Any kind of ‘detox’ procedure I cannot stand as the companies are a bunch of fear-mongering, money hungry manipulative people that side step their morals in the same way that national media does.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love tea! I’m a brit! However saying that teas are big immune system boosters because they have added vitamin C is very misleading (like a common tea I know). Vitamin C has only been found to useful in the innate immune response, involving all the symptoms like producing mucous and giving you a fever to help combat the pathogen. ‘Boosting’ this system will only promote such processes and not add to any kind of ‘now I won’t get ill’ assumption, which these companies ever so slightly hint at so that they can’t be accused of lying.

    It’s horrible practice and i’m glad to hear this condemning from an actual dietitian!

    • April 13, 2016 at 9:39 am #

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It is quite astounding how these companies promote these products. I believe it’s the yerba mate that’s being promoted as the compound that will boost the immune system but it seems that while this plant has beneficial effects, there doesn’t appear to be research on its impact on boosting immune system functioning in humans!

      • April 13, 2016 at 10:44 am #

        The worst part is when the research is from their own private company that doesn’t disclose details on the sample choice/numbers/stats! Spreading awareness of such bad practice is key though, lovely post for that 😀

  2. April 13, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

    I absolutely agree with your points! And thank you for the feedback! It is very much appreciated!

  3. September 20, 2016 at 12:36 am #

    Thank you so much for this post, It is so important for young people to realise that these Teatoxes aren’t the miracle they are advertised to be!

    We are constantly lured to take shortcuts in life, particularly to do with our food and diet. However, many famous diet trends and products have a range of side effects that are unknown and are an unsustainable way to lose weight.

    Trendtealife is a campaign that aims to raise awareness amongst young people about the risk of trendy diet products such as Teatoxes, to prevent young people from pursuing these commercial weight loss goods.

    Please support our campaign and share your stories and opinion with diet trends! We would also love to share your tips and articles in return to strive for a healthy and balanced community.
    A little bit of your time can make a big change. – FW


    • September 22, 2016 at 9:13 am #

      Thanks for sending this my way, Fiona! Congrats on your campaign! We need to spread the word! Efforts such as yours can help to inform consumers to not be fooled into thinking these supplements are the answer to good health!

      • September 23, 2016 at 8:16 pm #

        Thank you so much for your support Rosie, Looking forward to what your future posts!

  4. September 23, 2016 at 9:07 pm #

    My pleasure, Fiona! I look forward to yours too!

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