I've been asked by numerous clients and friends lately about the safety of "slimming teas". These teas are often found in health, bulk food stores and I even caught them on the shelf of dollar stores. They are sold as diet teas that purportedly support weight loss and suppress the appetite. Many are foreign made and provide inaccurate nutrient information labels.
Once I read the ingredients of these "slimming" teas, alarm bells began to go off.
Two ingredients were in almost every one of these "slimming" potions. One is Senna and the other is Cascara Sargrada. Both these herbs are strong laxatives and diuretics.
At best these teas can encourage some elimination and provide relief for occasional bouts of constipation. I stress the word occasional here. If you suffer from chronic constipation then these teas are not the answer either. Both Senna and Cascara are very harsh on the inner intestines and colon. They may in the long term create dependency and a lazy bowel that will not function optimally on its own.
Your bowels are just like muscles in your body, and need to be "exercised" so to speak. The best way to "exercise your bowels" is to provide healthy doses of whole food fiber which adds bulk. The bulk encourages the peristalsis action of the bowel. This is the muscular contraction that helps encourage healthy, and regular bowel movements.
Slimming teas are not the answer to losing excess weight. They can actually be dangerous as you may lose fluids, and excess electrolytes if you develop diarrhea. You risk dehydration and potentially the ph balance of your body. Potassium is a water soluble mineral that you will lose in large quantities when you experience excess laxative effects. Potassium regulates your heart beat. Since proper heart function is dependent on correct electrolyte balance, a severe deficiency of potassium can make your heart stop beating. Also these teas may encourage your body to crave more food because you may lose many minerals and trace nutrients in their laxative effects.
Many of these teas are imported from China, especially those found in dollar stores. There is really no way in knowing what is in them or the purity of the ingredients. They are mass made and sold.
Read labels and if you see any of the following ingredients steer clear:
- Cascara Sagrada
- Uva Ursi (diuretic)
- Kola nut ( stimulant, caffeine, upper)
- Ma Huang (stimulant, upper)
- Guarana (stimulant, upper)
The last two ingredients are often found in diet pills as well. These provide a stimulant effect on your nervous system that may suppress appetite and increase the metabolism. But both these are contentious. The effect on your metabolism may be minimal and not enough to induce a sufficient boost to any weight loss efforts. The danger is that they will stress the heart in addition to the stress the rest of the ingredients pose.
Double wammy of dangers here!
Healthy weight loss really boils down to eating a balanced healthy diet free of processed foods and excess alcohol and sugar. Also incorporating regular exercise that provides enough intensity to keep you sweating and increase your heart rate for 30 minutes 3-5 times per week. Keeping active the rest of the time is also important. So taking stairs, walking more, and generally not sitting around living a coach potato life.
Here is my formula for safe, effective weight loss:
Clean diet + regular intense exercise (30 minutes)+ deep regular sleep + spiritual connection of some sort = Less stress, more energy, healthy weight, and happier YOU.
To your health always,