Don’t fall for detox teas

As a new year draws near there is a whole lot of people already worrying about shifting the Christmas pounds!  Wishful, quick-fix weight loss and ‘body cleanse’ solutions are commonly the most appealing idea, I mean who wants to actually put effort into feeling lighter and brighter after too many mince pies and Christmas drinks right?
 Detox teas/drinks/shots/coffees are marketed for weight loss and to ‘detox’ your body.
Often endorsed by celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Cardi B, advertised in magazines, promoted by ‘wellness bloggers’ and retailed in easily accessible places like supermarkets and health shops; its all too easy to be duped into spending hard earned cash on products that the celebrities say work.
They are worryingly misleading, they lead people to believe they’ll look like whoever is promoting them. They’ve been around for a long time; unfortunately they don’t seem to be clearing off anytime soon and you should be sceptical of anyone selling these types of products for financial gain.  Losing weight takes a lot of effort and for it to be sustainable long-term it is always at a steady pace.  However its no surprise that people are drawn to the promises of easy, rapid weight loss.
So, here’s what why detox teas are a load of rubbish…
First of all and most importantly; you have two kidneys and a liver, these organs are your natural detoxification and filtration system, free of charge, already built in, no expense needed!  Our body constantly filters out, breaks down and excretes toxins and waste products like alcohol, medications and chemicals from pollution to name a few!
Secondly;  There is no magic drink that you can consume that is going to help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
The BDA (British Dietetic Association) states that the products do not encourage a healthy lifestyle and may target young people who may not even need to lose weight.
Thirdly;  After spending a fair bit of money on the products its very likely that you may also be spending a fair amount of time on the loo!  Some of the teas have a laxative effect leaving you with stomach cramps and the runs (and not the exercise type of runs). Long term use of laxative containing products can be dangerous, leaving you with gut issues. Some products can even affect the efficiency of the contraceptive pill due to the laxative effect!
Fourthly; Some of these products contain caffeine which can leave you anxious and shaky when drunk in large quantities and can even cause heart palpitations.
Lastly; Detox teas, drinks, whatever they want to call them are a marketing myth rather than nutritional reality.  They sound great, yeah and it would be amazing if they really delivered what they promise but many of the claims made by promotions and advertisements are wild and exaggerated, not only untrue but potentially harmful!
The solution; For most of us just making the new year commitment of changing to a healthier, balanced and varied diet will provide everything you need* to lose weight properly.  Invest in sound, sensible and science-based advice that you will always get from a nutrition professional.
*for certain population groups, mineral and vitamin supplements are necessary-discuss with a GP or Dietitian.
Kerry Sunley BSc (Hons) Food Science and Nutrition – The Sport Dietitian Team.
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