If you want to lose weight quickly or clean out your colon, a tea detox diet can help you do both. As a weight loss tool, however, a tea detox diet may be both dangerous and frustrating because the diet puts your body into starvation mode. Also, keep in mind that the benefits of detoxification, though it has been practiced for centuries, remain unsubstantiated by medical science.
Teas to Flush Your System
A tea detox diet involves drinking one or several kinds of teas to flush out your colon and kidneys. If weight loss if the goal, metabolism-boosting teas may be added to the menu. Most detox diets include fasts, so your food choices may be restricted to pureed fruits, vegetables and broths. Solid foods are usually banned or severely restricted based on the theory that you can’t properly clean your digestive system if you keep refilling it. A tea detox diet may last from three to 21 days.
Types of Teas for Detoxification
Senna tea, a popular detox beverage, acts both as a laxative and a diuretic. You will lose weight by expelling built-up fecal material and secreting water. A fat-burning tea such as green tea may be included in a tea detox diet. Some commercially made detoxification drinks contain a long list of herbs, such as guarana, ginseng, bitter orange and kelp, and are designed to keep up your energy and suppress your appetite during the diet.
Why You Lose Weight
Dramatic weight loss claims about tea detox diets, such as the ability to lose 20 lbs. in two weeks, are not necessarily untrue. Anything that causes a loss of water and waste material, including having the flu or eating spicy foods, can cause temporary weight loss. However, the amount of actual fat you lose while on a tea detox diet depends on how many calories you take in. On a liquid fruit and vegetable fast, you might consume 500 calories daily, or only 25 percent of the calories most women need to maintain their current weight. This 1,500-calorie-a-day deficit would yield a 1 lb. drop in weight every two to three days, based on the formula that 3,500 calories equal 1 lb. of fat.
Regaining Lost Weight
The weight loss benefits of a tea detox diet will not last. You will regain the weight lost through purging as soon as you begin eating normally again. You may also regain all of the fat you lost through calorie-deprivation, and pile on some extra pounds as well. When you drastically cut back on your food intake, your body protects itself from starving by slowing your metabolism. Your body also tries to protect itself from future starvation by hoarding fat. Your metabolism may not return to normal until you’ve added an extra 5 lbs. or more to your fat reservoir.
You should not take senna tea for longer than a week without a doctor’s approval. Additionally, you should not begin a detox diet without first consulting a medical professional. Most natural teas included in a detox diet, including green, black, oolong or white, are safe except for those who are sensitive to the effects of caffeine. However, some herbs in detox teas may be harmful. Bitter orange, for instance, acts similarly to ephedrine, a powerful stimulant banned by the Food and Drug Administration, and teas that contain seaweed, kelp and bladderwrack may lead to hyperthyroidism.
- Colon Cleansing and Constipation Resource Center: Senna Tea
- “The Straits Times”; Slimming Teas Can Be Unhealthy in Long Run; Edmund Baker
- “Sydney Morning Herald”; Straight Flush; Bronwyn McNulty; Feb. 12 2009
- “The Globe and Mail”; Green Tea a Possible Factor in Why Japanese Live So Long; Michelle Fay Cortez; September 13, 2006
- “Los Angeles Times”; Slim Chance Green Tea Can Burn Fat Off; Chris Woolston; Aug. 16, 2010
Since 2005, Milo Dakota has ghostwritten articles and book manuscripts for doctors, lawyers, psychologists, nutritionists, diet experts, fitness instructors, acupuncturists, chiropractors and others in the medical and health profession. Her work for others has appeared in the "Journal of the American Medical Society" and earned accolades in "The New York Times." She holds a Master of Art in journalism from the University of Michigan.