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Why Detox Tea Is A Waste Of Time And Money

woman drinking detox tea

If you’re at all active on social media, you’ve probably come across detox tea.

Promoted by everyone from fitness models to celebrities to the girl from down the street, it sounds like a pretty sweet deal.

Just drink this special tea every day and it will:

  • burn fat fast
  • crush your appetite
  • boost energy levels
  • improve skin health
  • flush out harmful toxins

In other words, you’ll look, feel, and function better and all you have to do is sip some tea!

Too bad it’s not true…

Don’t get me wrong, I love tea.  I’m an avid Matcha drinker and research has shown that drinking tea, especially Green Tea, may convey a variety of health benefits.

But the majority of the claims attached to weight-loss and detox teas are completely unfounded.

Not only is the quality of the actual tea usually poor with these kinds of products, but the added ingredients have never been proven to do anything.

The companies that produce them just make the claims, pay the celebrities and social media influencers to promote it, then sit back and watch the money pour in.

And pour in it does!

With many detox teas running upwards of $40 or $50 for a 30 day supply, while being extremely cheap to produce, it’s quite a profitable business.

Unfortunately, we live in a marketing-driven world where people tend to confuse price with value.

You know…

“it’s expensive so it must work!”

This may be true sometimes, but sadly, that’s not the case with detox teas.  They’re all a waste of time and money, and in this article, I’ll explain why.

Don’t worry though, I won’t leave you hanging…

I’ll also introduce you to some scientifically proven strategies to help you lose weight, burn fat, feel more energized, and be healthier in general.

Sound good?  Awesome.  Let’s dive right in…

What Is Detox Tea?

Detox tea is the latest craze to flood your Instagram and Twitter feeds.

It’s essentially ordinary tea with some ‘active ingredients’ which are supposed to do things like flush out toxins and cause you to lose weight.

If you take a look at the supplement facts panel of any detox tea, you’ll see a bunch of herbal ingredients such as:

  • Ginger
  • Dandelion
  • Valerian Root
  • Ginseng
  • Fruit/Berry Extracts
  • Peppermint
  • Milk Thistle
  • Yerba Mate
  • Garcinia Cambogia

The list goes on, but these are some of the most common detox tea ingredients.

While the exact composition of the tea may change depending on the brand and the specific function of the product (i.e. weight-loss, relaxation, energy, etc.), you’ll find that most of these products are pretty similar.

The same basic blend of cheap tea and a bunch of obscure herbal ingredients that are supposed to promote weight-loss and flush out toxins.

Some of these herbal ingredients have been shown to do things like support liver health and improve energy levels, but then there’s the issue of dosing…

Many of the herbal ingredients that detox teas claim to contain taste absolutely terrible, so it’s tough to mix them into teas without making the tea taste terrible.

That is, unless you just sprinkle a negligible amount in there to say it’s in there.

That’s exactly what most of these companies do.

They start with a base of cheap tea, sprinkle it with a blend of trendy (but useless) herbal ingredients, and sell it for 20 times what it costs to make.

Sadly, most of that money gets funneled back into marketing, influencing, and fake reviews so they can keep the scam going.

Real customers don’t usually fall for the same detox tea more than once.  You may try a few brands, but soon enough you realize nothing is happening.

So, what is detox tea?  It’s a scam, plain and simple.

Detox Tea Won’t Actually Help You Lose Weight

“But this girl I follow on Instagram drank it and lost 20 pounds in 2 months!”

Yeah, I know…

If you read the reviews, you’ll see a ton of people claiming similar stories.  Some of those reviews are fake, but some of them are real as well.

What they tend to leave out though, is that many of these teas recommend severely cutting your calorie intake.

So it’s not the magical blend of herbal ingredients that’s making you lose weight.  It’s starvation.

At it’s core, weight-loss still boils down to calories in vs. calories out.

No substance–whether it be a tea, supplement, drug, or anything else–can cause you to lose weight if you’re not burning more calories than you’re consuming.

With obesity rates on the rise, officially reaching epidemic levels world-wide, a ton of scientific research has been conducted in the area of weight-loss.

And guess what?

It all unanimously indicates that you cannot escape the law of energy balance.

In other words…

It is physically impossible to lose weight if you don't burn more calories than you consume

That’s why most detox teas require that you cut back on your calories while drinking the tea.  It’s not the tea that’s making you lose the weight.  It’s the fact that you’ve cut your calorie intake.

Try doing the same thing without the tea and you’ll see the exact same results.  The tea makes no meaningful difference.  I promise…

Does Detox Tea Help With Water Weight?

One of the central claims made by companies who produce detox teas is that they’ll cause you to shed water weight and be less bloated.

Many of these teas contain diuretics which may cause you to expel water (in the form of urine), but this isn’t really weight-loss though.

It’s just dehydration.

As soon as you stop drinking the tea, the water weight will come right back.

Cutting your carbohydrate intake will also cause you to lose a lot of water weight because carbs hold water.  But again, as soon as you resume your normal eating habits, the weight will come back.

If you want to lose weight AND keep that weight off for good, dehydrating yourself through the use of diuretics is NOT a viable strategy.

Neither is starving yourself.

Luckily, there are some scientifically proven ways for you to burn fat and lose weight without using expensive teas that don’t actually do anything on their own.

How To Actually Burn Fat And Lose Weight

Detox teas may not help you lose weight, but that’s okay.  There are a few simple ways to do that without wasting your hard-earned cash.

  • Diet – place yourself in a caloric deficit and up your protein intake.
  • Exercise – lifts weights and do some cardio here and there
  • Supplements – use fat-loss supplements that have actually been proven to work.

Now, let’s break those things down in a little more detail.

1 | Eat Fewer Calories, But More Protein

Like I said earlier, there’s no escaping the laws of energy balance.

It’s the underlying factor that dictates how much weight you can physically lose in a given amount of time.

You’re in a positive energy balance when you’re eating more calories than you’re burning.  Maintain a positive energy balance for a prolonged period of time and you’ll gain wait.

You’re in a negative energy balance when you’re eating fewer calories than you’re burning.  Maintain a negative energy balance for a prolonged period of time and you’ll lose weight.

Simple, right?  And I didn’t just make it up like the claims about detox tea!

Research has confirmed that the only way to lose weight is by eating less calories than you burn (i.e. maintaining a negative energy balance) for an extended period of time.

The fewer calories you consume relative to what you burn, the faster you’ll lose weight.

It’s not wise to cut your calories too much, though.

Research also shows that cutting calories by too much can slow your metabolic rate, effectively causing your body to ‘hold on to’ more calories.

So, you don’t want to cut your calories by 50% or something crazy like that.

You want to dial your calories back enough to lose weight at a decent rate, but not so much that:

  1. You can’t maintain it
  2. It significantly lowers your metabolic rate

cutting your calorie intake by 20% is a good place to start.  25% if you want to be aggressive about it.

A key facet of getting a leaner, more defined physique–as opposed to just being skinny and bony–is maintaining (or building) lean muscle mass.

That goes for guys AND girls.

Eating protein is absolutely essential for building muscle and if you want a killer body, you want to put on some muscle.

Even if you’re trying to lose weight, you still want to at least preserve lean muscle mass.  The goal is to eliminate fat, never muscle.

Studies show that eating a high protein diet can preserve lean muscle mass during a caloric deficit.

Anytime you place yourself in a caloric deficit, it’s a good idea to up your protein so you don’t lose muscle.

Dial back your calorie intake by around 20% and up your protein intake to around 1 gram per pound of body weight, maybe a little more if you want.

That means if you weigh 150 lbs, you want to eat at least 150 grams of protein per day.

Now that we’ve got the diet part down, let’s talk about working out…

2 | Workout for maximum fat-loss

Next, you need to develop a workout routine that emphasizes fat-loss.

You may think that means doing a lot of cardio (running, biking, etc.), but research indicates a combination of weight-lifting and cardio is ideal for weight-loss.

The absolute best workout routine for burning fat and losing weight is one that features:

  • Heavy, compound weight-lifting
  • Some kind of cardio

Research has shown that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the best kind of cardio for fat-loss, but any kind of additional cardio will help you lose weight.

Most people, including me, prefer HIIT to steady state cardio because it’s quicker and less boring.

As for the heavy, compound lifting part…

Your workouts should feature exercises like

These are all compound exercises, meaning they recruit more muscle groups than isolation exercises like curls and push-downs.

These kinds of exercises not only burn more  calories, but are also better for building muscle.

So, if you really want to lose weight, you want to do a combination of heavy, compound weight-lifting and some form of high intensity cardio (like HIIT).

3 | Use weight-loss supplements that actually work

Most supplements marketed as fat-burners don’t actually work, but there are some that do.

Here’s the thing:

No supplement is going to magically make you lose weight if you don't alter your diet and/or exercise.

Diet and exercise are what make the biggest difference when it comes to managing your body weight.  There’s just no denying that.

A pill that magically makes you lose weight sounds great, but it doesn’t exist.

That said, there are actually some supplements out there that can tip the fat-loss needle in your favor.

Caffeine

Caffeine forms the basis of many stimulant-based fat-burners, but it does more than just increase energy levels.

By triggering the release of Catecholamines–a group of fat-burning hormones produced by your body–Caffeine increases your metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn).

Different people have different tolerances to Caffeine, but research shows that the fat-loss effects occur anywhere from 100-400mg.

Most people will find their ideal dose of Caffeine within that range.

Synephrine

Synephrine is a mild stimulant which is found naturally in Bitter Orange.

It functions similarly to the once extremely popular (now banned) weight-loss supplement, Ephedrine, but research indicates it’s much safer.

Like Ephedrine, Synephrine is a beta-receptor agonist. That’s just a scientific way of saying it stimulates lipolysis (fat-breakdown).

Synephrine can actually increase the amount of calories you burn at rest.

50mg is an effective (and safe) dose of Synephrine.

Rauwolscine

Rauwolscine, also known as Alpha-Yohimbine, is probably the most powerful natural fat-burning supplement there is.

It works by blocking the action of alpha receptors in fat tissue.  These receptors are ordinarily responsible for putting a stop to lipolysis (fat-breakdown).

By blocking alpha-receptors, Rauwolscine allows you to burn more fat during your workouts than would otherwise normally be possible.

It works best on an empty stomach and is especially effective when combined with fasted cardio (or any kind of fasted training).

Rauwolscine requires just 1-3mg to work.  It should be taken just before your workout (on an empty stomach).

Formula 56

Formula 56 is a natural fat-burning supplement I created after becoming frustrated with the lack of effective fat-burning supplements out there.

Momentum Nutrition Formula 56

LEARN MORE

Most fat burners either work by jacking you up on stimulants that crush your appetite but come with side effects or they just don’t work at all.

I wanted to create something that was effective, but not overly stimulant-dependent.

Formula 56 works in three ways:

  1. It increases your metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn at rest)
  2. It increases energy, focus, and mood (without the crash and jitter)
  3. It helps to curb your appetite (without completely crushing it)

It does these things by making use of several well-established, safe, scientifically proven ingredients at clinically effective doses.  If you’re looking for an all around effective fat-burner that’s not loaded with obscure, potentially dangerous stimulants, Formula 56 is worth a try.

If you really want to kick the fat-loss up a notch, consider combining Formula 56 with Rauwolscine.

Detox Tea Won’t Help You “Detox” Either

Aside from the weight-loss claims, detox teas also claim to cleanse and detoxify your body, ridding it of harmful substances.

While there are some herbal ingredients which can potentially support your body’s ability to detoxify harmful substances, it already comes with the necessary tools.

If you have:

  • A Liver
  • Kidneys

Then your body already has what it needs to rid itself of harmful substances.

In fact, it does so all day every day without you even noticing.

You see, toxins are everywhere!  The air you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat.  Some are caused by humans and some are naturally occurring.

We deal with these toxins through our own internal detoxification processes, and no supplement has ever been shown to make the kidneys or liver “work better”.

A little sprinkle of Milk Thistle a pinch of Dandelion Root isn’t going to magically make your liver or kidneys capable of filtering out more toxins.

Neither will taking diuretics or laxatives.

In fact, those things may do more harm than good.

The need to “detox” isn’t real.  It’s just something that people who sell detox products want you to think you need to do.

Nothing is being flushed out of your system as a result of drinking detox tea.  You’re not getting any healthier.  It’s just an elaborate myth.

How To Detox (For Real)

Detox tea won’t make you any healthier, but there are some simple changes you can make that will.

1 | Eat More Fruits And Veggies

It’s no secret that fruits and veggies are good for you.

They contain essential vitamins and minerals, not to mention a whole bunch of phytonutrients that you won’t see listed on nutrition labels.

These nutrients are the primary reason why plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

People who eat diets rich in fruits and vegetables are less likely to become overweight and tend to live longer on average.

If you want to be generally healthy and reduce your risk of disease, ditch the detox tea and eat several servings of fruit and veggies every day.

2 | Get Some Sleep

Proper sleep is pretty rare these days.

Bright screens and blinking lights keep us from getting to the deepest, most restful levels of sleep and most of us are completely unaware of the toll it actually takes.

Getting a good night’s sleep has numerous health benefits, including:

The list goes on, but you get the idea.

Sleeping is the single easiest thing you can do to improve the overall quality of your life.

It’s like detox tea, except it’s free and actually works!  So…It’s actually not like detox tea at all, I guess.

3 | Use Detox Supplements That Actually Work

Your body is more than capable of detoxifying itself, but there are a handful of supplements that can potentially give it a hand.

NAC

N-Acetylcysteine, otherwise known as NAC, is a highly bioavailable form of the amino acid Cysteine which has powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Research indicates that NAC can help facilitate the removal of harmful toxins such as heavy metals and acetaminophen (tylenol) and may be beneficial for skin health as well.

You won’t find NAC listed as an ingredient in any kind of detox tea, though, because it tastes horrible and you have to take at least 600-1200mg/day.

That’s why it’s best to just buy some encapsulated NAC from a brand you can trust, and take it daily with meals.

TUDCA

TUDCA is a unique molecule derived from Taurine and Ursodeoxycholic acid.  It appears to provide a number of health benefits. mostly pertaining to liver health.

Studies indicate that TUDCA can improve liver health and effectively treat certain liver disorders.  Since the liver is primarily involved in detoxification, it makes sense to use TUDCA as a general detox supplement.

Like NAC, you won’t find TUDCA in any detox teas, though.  It tends to be pretty expensive and it’s not trendy enough for most detox tea manufacturers to think that it’s worth it.

I’d recommend just buying a TUDCA supplement and taking about 500-1000mg daily with food.

Milk Thistle

Milk Thistle is one of those trendy herbal ingredients that actually is useful.

Research has confirmed that Milk Thistle has powerful anti-oxidant properties and promotes liver health.

It has been shown to protect the liver against toxins and even help repair liver cells after damage has already occurred.

It also appears to be beneficial for skin health.

A combination of Milk Thistle and NAC has been shown to lower inflammation and significantly reduce severity of acne.

Milk Thistle is actually found in some detox tea, but it’s always extremely under-dosed.  They just sprinkle it in there so you say “Oh, Milk Thistle.  I’ve heard that’s good for detoxing!”

In reality, you need at least 500-1000mg of Milk Thistle daily for it to actually do anything.

The Bottom Line On Detox Tea

If you’ve tried detox tea before in the hopes of losing weight and getting healthier, only to be disappointed with the results, you’re not alone…

Detox tea doesn’t actually work!

All those celebrity endorsements and seemingly amazing reviews from “real people”?  Just a bunch of clever marketing designed to play on the desire that so many of us have to lose weight and get healthy.

If you really want to lose wight and improve your general health, simply follow the steps we discussed in this article.

Unfortunately, the desire to lose weight will always cause some people to fall for scammy products like detox tea, but at least now YOU know the truth.

Feel free to pass it on!

Got Anything To Add About Detox Tea?  Comment Below…

I’m Matt Theis, founder of SuppWithThat, Momentum Nutrition, and Singular Sport. I created SWT to separate the science from the hype and publish accurate, research-based information on supplements. If you like what I have to say here, feel free to check out my supplements at Momentum-Nutrition.com and SingularSport.com.

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