What detox teas are really doing to your body might surprise you

Whether you're active on social media or watch the latest daytime talk shows, chances are you've heard of detox teas. Several detox tea brands boast about their products' ability to help you lose weight fast. However it is important to remember that like all dietary supplements, detox teas are not reviewed or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the truth about how they work and their effects on your body is far less glamorous than they claim.

Traditionally it is known that teas, such as green and black tea, do offer some health benefits. These teas contain polyphenols, particularly catechins and epicatechins, known to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in lab studies (via Harvard Health Publishing). While the exact mechanisms are still under review, though, specialists agree that tea alone is not a magic bullet to overall good health. In the same vein, detox teas, especially, are not the miracle drink they claim to be. 

Jessie Valentine, a registered dietician with a master's in nutrition, told Health Digest, "Detox teas are often marketed as a way to detoxify the body. Although tempting to try, any claims about detoxification are simply not true as our kidneys and liver do all our detoxification for us."

Effects of detox tea

So how exactly do detox teas claim to help you lose weight fast and supposedly detox? Valentine goes on to say, "Some companies claim these products will lead to weight loss; however, this is very unlikely and any temporary weight loss is due to the presence of stimulants or laxatives, such as senna leaf." 

While some detox teas are a mix of various tea leaves, some blends do include ingredients like senna, laxatives, high levels of caffeine, or other harmful substances. These teas are designed to have you running to empty your bladder and bowels more frequently. While you may experience some minor weight loss, you won't experience long-term weight loss. Instead, you may find yourself experiencing common side effects such as dehydration, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, bloating, gas pain, muscle cramping and spasms, anxiety, sleep disruptions, among other ailments (via Healthline). Several herbal ingredients may also interact with prescription medications, so it's always important to discuss with your regular healthcare provider before trying something new.

While detox teas may seem like a quick fix, they are not a long term solution to finding a healthy and happy lifestyle. The consensus amongst the medical community remains that a balanced diet, adequate hydration, sleep, cardiovascular exercise, and decreasing stress are the biggest factors to contribute to your overall health and wellbeing.