Slimming teas claim to help you lose weight, burn fat and boost metabolism. Clever marketing and branding make them look like a safe way to lose weight, and it all seems too good to be true. After all, they’re just tea, and even if they don’t help you lose weight, they’re not going to hurt, right?
Not always. If slimming teas seem too good to be true, that’s because they are, and you’re better off drinking regular tea. Here’s why.
How do slimming teas work?
If you’re skeptical about slimming teas, you might write them off and say they don’t do anything. But that wouldn’t be correct. They do effect change in the body, but not the kind you’re looking for.
Slimming teas are said to promote weight loss, fat burning and increased metabolism.
And while they often contain ingredients that can boost metabolism and suppress appetite, the effect is rather negligible and nothing you can really rely on for sustainable weight loss.
How slimming teas act as diuretics and laxatives
Diet teas often contain ingredients that increase urination and defecation, including any of the following:
- Castor oil
When you drink “slimming” teas with these natural ingredients, you may notice a drop in weight. But that doesn’t mean you’re losing fat. Instead, you’re losing water and waste since these ingredients promote urination and bowel movements.
Health risks of laxative and diuretic slimming teas
While you might notice a short-term drop in body weight thanks to a loss of water from the body, long-term consumption of diuretics and laxatives isn’t recommended.
Ironically, drinking diuretics can actually leave you dehydrated as they’re very effective in expelling water from the body. And unfortunately, you also lose important minerals and electrolytes that are necessary for muscle and heart health.
Along with uncomfortable diarrhea, your colon can slowly become weaker and start to rely on laxatives to eliminate bowels.
Do slimming teas really boost metabolism?
Some ingredients in slimming teas can and do boost metabolism, but it’s not enough to make a lasting impact on weight loss efforts.
For example, green tea contains compounds called catechins, which are said to increase calorie burning. However, research says, “Green tea [has] no significant effect on the maintenance of weight loss.”
Other ingredients like Yerba mate, capsaicin from hot peppers, chitosan, white willow bark, and caffeine, are also said to boost metabolism, but their effects aren’t enough to make significant changes in fat burning.
Can slimming teas suppress appetite?
Similar to the claim that slimming teas boost metabolism, they can also suppress appetite. Here again, the effect is pretty slim, and to make matters worse, they may not always be safe ingredients to consume frequently.
For example, bitter orange is a favorite appetite suppressant. It contains a chemical called, synephrine. However other herbs containing this same chemical are banned by the FDA because they can raise blood pressure and increase the risk for heart attack and even stroke.
The National Institute of Health reminds that evidence is inconclusive about the safety of bitter orange. In some cases, it does have negative effects on cardiovascular health, including higher heart rates and blood pressure.
So, you may want to ask yourself if drinking a slimming tea with a bitter orange is worth it.
St. John’s Wort is another plant that's said to quell appetite. That’s because it increases serotonin production, which in turn, helps you feel full. However, for some people, this plant isn’t safe in large amounts as it can increase anxiety, blood pressure, dizziness, and even nausea.
Another trendy ingredient, garcinia cambogia, is said to prevent your body from storing fat and helps to control your appetite. However, even if that’s true, research confirms this may only be the case for short-term weight loss plans.
What’s more, further research is necessary to better understand whether it’s a safe and effective ingredient for weight loss.
Slimming teas may be natural but that doesn’t make them safe
Unfortunately, we’re led to believe that if something has “natural” ingredients, it’s automatically better and healthier for us. However, as we’ve seen, just because an ingredient is plant-based and natural, doesn’t make it safe and effective.
Bitter orange, for example, is a risky ingredient. Naturally, diuretics are effective, but continual use is not only unhealthy but will not give you the fat loss you want to achieve.
So, are slimming teas one big diet scam? The answer might be yes. If you’re curious about using a slimming tea, always check the ingredients and understand how they can affect your body.
You may choose to use diet teas as a complementary addition to your weight loss efforts, but you probably shouldn’t hang your hat on them.
Teas that actually support weight loss
Believe it or not, the slimming teas you’ve been waiting for have been there all along. In fact, long before there were diet fads and slimming teas, there were delicious teas to support weight loss and decrease body fat.
For example, green, black, puehr, oolong and white teas are your best bet when it comes to safe and potentially slimming teas.
If you prefer teas with a milder, gentler flavor, the fragrant oolong tea may be a lovely choice. One study found that drinking oolong tea every day over the course of six weeks helped to decrease body weight and body fat specifically.
If you already enjoy a good cup of black tea, you may want to keep it in your pantry. Research confirms that three cups of black tea each day can reduce body weight and waist circumference.
Whether you drink regular teas or opt for slimming teas, it’s important to remember that they can only complement your other weight loss efforts, which must include exercise and eating a healthy and balanced diet.