Weight-loss teas are all the rage these days. You can see them plastered all over Instagram, endorsed by slender celebs from California to Canberra. The lack of honesty and transparency concerning these teas was actually one of the reasons we launched Shelgo Tea and the main reason we are so transparent with everything that we sell on this site.
The Truth About Weight Loss Teas
Many weight-loss teas are filled with strong laxatives and diuretics, designed to expel waste and give the illusion of weight loss. They rarely burn fat, never live up the promises they make, and if they are consumed every day then they can cause serious health implications for the user. After all, laxatives and diuretics are not designed to be consumed daily, especially not by people who don’t even realise they are consuming them.
At Shelgo Tea, we focus on pure, unadulterated herbs that taste great, provide an array of benefits, and can be enjoyed every day. We don’t sell laxative teas, but we do sell some teas that act as natural diuretics, mainly because these teas also help in many other ways.
In this guide, we’ll show you some of the major risk factors concerning common ingredients added to weight-loss teas. We’re not saying that all of these teas are bad—we’re definitely not in the business of discrediting other tea companies, especially the ones that have only good intentions. We just believe that consumers should be informed about some of the blends they consume and the marketing tricks they fall for.
Always look beyond the label, always check the ingredients, and keep an eye out for the following good and bad “weight-loss” ingredients.
5 Potentially Dangerous Weight-Loss Teas
What follows is a list of common weight loss-teas that may be causing more harm than good. Some of these can be used safely and serve their purpose as medicines or supplements but only when used correctly.
Senna is a natural laxative, and in the United Kingdom, it is commonly sold in the form of Senokot. As the adverts claim, it provides a “gentle, natural way to relieve constipation”, and it really does. But it’s also being added to so-called “weight-loss teas” being consumed in excess throughout the day.
It’s easy to see why this would cause problems. Think back to the last time you were a little bunged up and used Senokot. You probably took one or two tablets in an evening and you were probably “relieved” of your problem by the morning. Now imagine taking those tablets in the morning, the afternoon, and the evening without really knowing what’s waiting for you around the corner.
Daily consumption of senna can also lead to a form of laxative abuse, even if it is happening unwittingly. This can reduce bowel motility, lead to excessive diarrhoea, cause an electrolyte imbalance, and more.
We’re not going to tell you that caffeine is poison. As discussed in our guide to the benefits of caffeine, it may actually be beneficial when used in moderation. The issues come when it is not used in moderation.
Countless energy drinks and weight-loss drinks are packed with caffeine, and when you add this to the caffeine found naturally in soft drinks, chocolate, tea, and coffee, it’s very easy for someone to overdose without realising.
It’s important to be aware of how much caffeine you’re consuming every single day, as it is possible to overdose on this common stimulant and cases of caffeine-related fatalities are on the rise.
On the plus side, there are studies suggesting that caffeine can increase metabolism and improve fat burning by a marginal amount.
3. Garcinia Cambogia
This is the latest weight-loss fad. It is a fruit extract that has been touted as a miracle fat burner, but as is so often the case, it really doesn’t live up to those promises. There is little evidence, if any, supporting the claims made about garcinia cambogia, but there is plenty of evidence saying that it is no more effective than a placebo, and this dates back over 2 decades.
Garcinia cambogia has also been linked with an array of side effects, including headaches and sickness, and it should be avoided by anyone with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, as well as pregnant women. It has also been linked with at least one case of kidney failure.
4. Bitter Orange
Many years ago, a supplement by the name of ephedra was all the rage. It was a stimulant, and a dangerously effective one at that, which led to it being banned in most countries. As soon as this happened, a stimulant by the name of synephrine hit the shelves.
Also known as “bitter orange,” it was marketed as an equally effective replacement, and it quickly raised just as many concerns, with experts suggesting that it was as dangerous as ephedra. It can cause an array of side effects and has been linked to a number of serious hospital admissions, including a 24-year-old who had a heart attack hours after taking the supplement, despite having no history of drug use or coronary heart disease.
This one needs to be treated incredibly carefully, especially when it is combined with caffeine as it so often is in weight-loss teas and supplements.
5. Colon Cleansing
These teas are similar to weight-loss teas, they target a similar market, and they can be just as dangerous. They can cause everything from bloating and diarrhoea to electrolyte imbalances and they do this by combining many of the same ingredients, using laxatives like senna alongside a host of diuretics.
Better, Safer Weight-Loss Teas
What follows is a list of teas that have been the subject of positive research concerning weight loss. However, no tea exists that will rapidly melt those pounds away, and all of them, even the ones you perceive as safe, should still be consumed in moderation alongside a healthy, balanced diet.
This is a natural diuretic that may also help you burn some fat, as discussed on our own Dandelion Tea page. It’s a potent antioxidant, as well, and is raising a lot of eyebrows in the field of cancer research.
2. Green Tea
An oldie but a goodie, green tea is not going to stimulate you like high doses of caffeine would, but there is a lot of promising research out there concerning green tea’s ability to burn fat. This research is not consistent or conclusive, but there are many other green tea benefits that have been proven.
3. Yerba Mate
This South American tea works in a similar way to green tea and has been linked to many of the same benefits. These benefits likely have a lot to do with the caffeine content, which is roughly the same as a weak black tea or a strong green tea, but there are other compounds here that may be responsible for its many health benefits.
4. Black Tea
Believe it or not, plain old black tea has also been linked with an array of health benefits, including weight loss. As with yerba mate, this likely has a lot to do with the caffeine, but it is also full of healthy antioxidants and can boost overall health and wellbeing.
5. Red Tea
This is another popular tea that could help you shed some pounds. As discussed in our guide to red tea, it is packed with antioxidants that have shown to be effective at preventing oxidative stress, burning fat, and improving wellbeing. And it manages to do all of this without a single milligram of caffeine, as red tea, which also goes by the name Rooibos, is 100% naturally caffeine free.