The dark side of slimming teas

If you are a regular social media user, you have probably come across many blogs talking about slimming teas. If you notice, these blogs have a large following. Some clients actually give feedback and send “before and after” photos — showing that these detox teas work wonders in the shortest time.

What attracts people more is that these teas indicate that they are natural, and will help burn calories, improve metabolism, cleanse, minimise appetite and increase energy.

A number of people are fascinated by others’ testimonies, hence, opting to give it a try. The question, however, is: are these detox teas danger-free?

Emmy Ntamanga, a Kigali-based nutrition consultant, says slimming teas have been considered useful to weight watchers.

He says that although these teas are known to enhance metabolism, burn stomach fat, and detox the body, they are allied with missed periods, unintended pregnancies, and permanent gut damage.

Ntamanga adds that there is also insufficient evidence that any slimming tea is effective in supporting lasting weight loss. Slimming tea contains elements like caffeine and senna which are harmful.

“Senna is a herb that comes from several different flowering species of the cassia plants. Even though it is recognised for helping to relieve constipation, senna can cause some side effects including stomach discomfort, cramps, and diarrhoea. If used for an extended period, it can stop the bowls from functioning normally,” Ntamanga notes.

According to Private Kamanzi, a dietician at Amazon Wellness Centre, Remera, some detox tea contains additional ingredients that could be harmful to your health. For example, powerful herb laxatives, high levels of caffeine, medications, and illegal chemicals like ephedra. Although they empty the colon and bladder more often, which may actually cut weight, you are losing water mainly, not toxins. Which is, therefore, not a safe way to lose extra weight.

Ntamanga explains that many slimming teas claim to boost metabolism, but research regarding the additives found in slimming tea is very limited. They can cause severe diarrhoea. Diarrhoea can become dangerous if prolonged, as you may end up becoming extremely dehydrated.

Kamanzi stresses that apart from diarrhoea and dehydration, the caffeine found in detox teas can cause digestive issues, for instance; anxiety, agitation, frustration, headaches, anxiety, fast heart and breathing rate, among others.

Due to caffeine, your sleeping cycle may be affected as well, he adds.

If you drink detox teas on a daily basis, the laxatives found in these teas can damage your liver, kidney, and colon. Therefore, they should be used in moderation, Kamanzi advices.

Kamanzi explains that slimming teas would require using the bathroom more often, this means that the body will contain fewer fluids and could become dehydrated. Dehydration can reduce the levels of electrolytes in your blood. Electrolytes are vital for your muscles to function. An electrolyte imbalance can activate muscle spasms and an abnormal heartbeat.

There are no clinical studies proving that detox teas are a good implement for weight loss, he says.

“You can actually lose weight in a safer way, and this is how; eat a high-protein breakfast, evade sugary drinks, choose weight loss-friendly foods like whole eggs, leafy greens such as (spinach, broccoli ), salmon, cruciferous vegetables, lean beef and chicken breast, boiled potatoes, low fat milk, pumpkin, peas, beans, and legumes,” Kamanzi says.

He also recommends drinking water a half hour before meals, and eat mostly whole, unprocessed foods.

Kamanzi advises adding cucumbers to your diet as they are good for detoxifying your system, and due to the presence of water and fibre, they lower the rate of eating more often.

In addition to eating a healthy diet, he says, exercise is also important to effect belly fat loss, and your exercise needs to be balanced with a proper diet. Stress levels should also be reduced, get adequate sleep and drink enough water. In order to reduce belly fat, get regular check-ups for hormonal imbalances.

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