We’ve all seen it whether we choose to follow fitness and nutrition accounts on our social media or not… maybe it keeps showing up as an ad while we are scrolling through… or maybe our friend recently began selling it as a side job. Of course, we are talking about tea, but not any kind of tea. This new type of diet tea (sometimes called fittea, skinny tea, teatox, etc.), has claims ranging from impressive fat loss results, completely detoxifying the body, suppressing your appetite, and increased energy levels throughout the day.
To the unsuspecting social media scroller this might be a tantalizing offer for only $39.95 for a 28 day supply, but to all the sharp fitness enthusiasts reading this article right now we can agree this isn’t the first time a product boasted such unbelievable results. Like other fad diets that have come and gone, skinny tea seems to never go away even after it has become common knowledge it cannot deliver all the benefits it claims in a long-term, healthy way. In this article, we will discuss why skinny tea isn’t worth the cost of the packaging its sold in, and what you should be doing instead for sustainable and healthy fat loss.
What’s In Skinny Tea?
Like all other supplements in America, most of these companies can make all the claims they want risk free, as the FDA doesn’t have the resources to review every dietary supplement to confirm their benefits (or their lack of). This is also true for what is actually in the supplements in what amounts, which means if a certain skinny tea claims 500 mgs of lemongrass per bag, it can contain that amount, or half, or sometimes even none of the ingredient per serving.
To cut costs some of these companies only include ingredients on the label and use mostly filler, without being caught. One ingredient almost all of these skinny teas do actually contain though is something called senna leaf. While it might seem very inconspicuous as a simple leaf with probable health benefits, it is actually a laxative. You heard right, one of the main ingredients in these teas is designed to make you have to use the toilet more. In this lies the edge behind these products and why they are so popular. Almost all of the ingredients in these teas are basically useless (looking at you: celery leaf, goji berries, and nettle leaf to name a few) for losing weight or detoxing the body, but the few that do make you lose weight do so in the least desirable way.
Instead of helping you lose fat, the laxatives and diuretics in the tea (caffeine and almost every type of tea will make you shed water) help you lose water and stool weight in the first week or two of taking the product which leads you to believe it is working very well and fast. This is when most users will post on their social media raving about the skinny tea diet they started last week and have already lost 4 pounds, not knowing they haven’t lost a gram of fat, only water weight and whatever was in their bowels. This only continues the cycle of more people trying this product because their actual friends recommend it.
What we don’t see is that first person whose weight loss stalled the third week of using the tea, probably ending in a lack of motivation and regaining all the weight back. So what should you actually do? Let’s talk about it simply and painlessly.
The Diet You Should Be Doing
To clarify, regular tea (black, green, earl grey, etc.) is a very healthy drink that we should all be drinking in moderation! These teas are rich in antioxidants, catechins, caffeine balanced with L-theanine, and more. It’s when potentially unhealthy ingredients that are supposed to be used for constipation are added with a hefty price tag and drank in place of a regular meal that tea crosses the line into “this probably isn’t the best thing for your diet”.
Supplements have a time and place in a fat loss diet but should never be used in place of a calorie restricted, nutritious diet plan and exercise routine. Put in the simplest terms imaginable, the best diet for you (yes you, the reader I’ve never met or seen), is the diet you can stick to. Fad/crash diets (skinny tea does fit into this category) result in a rapid amount of weight loss, not fat loss, and 99% of the time end with the individual gaining all the weight back at square one after weeks of feeling terrible with no energy.
With a diet you can stick to, whether it be flexible dieting, clean eating, paleo, IIFYM, Atkins, it doesn’t matter. If you can consistently lose fat on a diet that isn’t popular or ideal for most people, who cares? It works for you, and that’s all that matters! Of course, there is way more to fat loss than that, such as counting calories, hitting your macros, balancing sleep/training intensity, and much more, but choosing the right diet is always the first step in starting a successful fat loss regimen.
Take Home Message
While the main question of this article might have been an obvious one to most of us, these diet tea products are still out there and being promoted at the same price as 2 kilos of high-quality protein powder. To make things worse, these products aren’t even just useless, but they are sneaky enough to contain laxatives to trick unsuspecting users to think they are losing fat instead of just water and stool weight.
Tea, in general, is a healthy ingredient for many reasons, but when it is robbed of its purest form and added to a proprietary blend of overhyped falsehood, this is no longer the case. It might also be obvious that the kind of diet that you should be doing is the one you can stick to, but as long as fad diets exist and reel people in with false promises I will continue to preach the simple truth. All it comes down to in the end is energy balance, meaning if you are eating less than your body needs or burns in a day, then you will lose weight (and of course it never hurts to buy most of your foods from whole, nutrient-dense sources).
There is no supplement or diet that will magically make you lose weight without being in a calorie deficit, and there most likely never will be (legally, that is). If you can take away one thing from this article let it be this: Skip the skinny tea, find a diet you enjoy, and save your money until you find a supplement with actual research and studies behind it!