Detox juice cleanses are not new, but their benefits have been an increasingly recognized subject of much controversy, especially in pop culture and celebrity news. Detox juices can have adverse effects on the body as their false notion states that an individual can remove toxins or pollutants from their body by drinking a detox juice on a regular basis as a meal replacement. The goal is to feel “cleaner,” with the added benefit of quick weight loss. Wellness teas, which have now morphed into “detox” teas, are replacing the detox juice fad with annual spending of $272 million in the United States. Detox teas specifically have brought in $62 million in revenue in a given year. Detox teas are similar to diet pills in a sense that they promise to provide the added benefit of quick weight loss without the actual need to take a pill.

The correlation between laxatives and weight loss teas

Detox teas also are known to boost energy as they contain guarana, which is a stimulant known to have as much caffeine equivalent to four cups of coffee. The main ingredient in weight loss teas is senna. Senna contains many chemicals called sennosides. Sennosides irritate the lining of the bowel, which causes a laxative effect. Laxatives act on the large intestine or colon to stimulate water and electrolyte absorption to create a bowel movement. Digestion, which consists of the breakdown of food into calories and nutrients, begins in the mouth and ends in the small intestine. Therefore all of the calories and nutrients consumed by food are already absorbed into the body before the food passes into the large intestine where laxatives work. As a result, laxatives do not eliminate calories or fat from the body but rather eliminate water weight, which can be quickly gained by drinking water. Therefore this weight loss myth indeed is not a way to lose body weight but instead will rid the body of water weight and in doing so, deplete the body of electrolytes and minerals resulting in severe medical consequences. These teas are merely an alternate form of laxatives, but companies market the tears to the general public as a healthy way to boost energy and lose weight.

Losing weight can be difficult. It takes extreme dedication and motivation to eat healthily and exercise regularly without being overly consumed in this lifestyle. We live in a society based on instant gratification so many people expect results instantaneously when in reality, just like any good thing in life, weight loss takes time and depending on your goal weight; it can take months or even years to lose the desired weight. Weight loss pills, juices, and teas are an easy way to lose water weight, but ultimately they do not work to decrease the fat percentage in the body. The more one relies on weight loss pills, the higher the potential an addiction can develop. An addiction to laxatives, either in the form of tablets or teas, can potentially result in eating disorders if one is not careful, which are severe mental health disorders that affect approximately 30 million adults in the United States. Seeking treatment for an eating disorder is necessary in order to avoid further health complications. With extreme care, the development of an eating disorder can be prevented when consuming detox teas, weight loss pills or any “quick fix” way to lose weight fast. If you or someone you know is struggling with a weight problem, it may be beneficial to consult a nutritionist or a dietitian to learn about how to lose weight healthily to prevent harm on the body.