If you have an Instagram account, you’ve probably seen an ad for detox teas. Countless celebs and influencers promote them, while other celebs (specifically, Jameela Jamil from The Good Place) are on a mission to take them down. In Well+Good’s latest episode of You Versus Food, registered dietitian Tracy Lockwood Beckerman shares her own thoughts on the hot fad.
Beckerman believes that these teas, which are often marketed for weight management and detoxing, don’t live up to their claims. “In reality, these teas are nothing more than glorified laxatives,” Beckerman says. “It’s a scam. It’s deceptive, misleading, and harmful.” It’s a scam because, as she says, “our livers and kidneys are designed to help us detox,” rendering products marketed as “detoxifying” superfluous. They can be harmful because taking laxatives in excess “can cause some pretty unpleasant and stinky side effects, such as diarrhea, massive headaches, drastic and dangerous fluid shifts that can lead to bloating and even fainting.”
Beckerman also takes issue with their long ingredients lists, which often contain potentially unsafe levels of vitamins. “Shouldn’t teas have just one ingredient: tea?” she says.
At the end of the day, Beckerman thinks these types of products may do more harm than good. “In the long term, swapping detox teas in for meals can truly mess with someone’s relationship with food, body image, and self-worth,” she says. And when it comes to any kind of health advice, she says everyone should look to dietitians (or another trusted expert) for diet advice, not Instagram. For more tea on detox teas, watch the full video above.
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