Detox Tea: Dangerous Fad or a Speedy Dieting Fix?


Weight loss journeys can often feel like an uphill struggle. When you’re trying to get into shape, you may be looking for any type of help you can get. The latest dieting trend on everyone’s radar is detox tea (otherwise known as a teatox), but does it really work? If you’re looking for a super-fast way to get fit and healthy, you may be tempted to give this new trend a whirl.

Sadly, it’s hard to know what you should believe. There’s a whole load of conflicting information out there. Add that to the fact that many of the claims are not substantiated and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. If you want to know the truth behind the trend, you have to look at the research. Within this quick and informative guide, we’ll take a look at the detox tea trend and the facts behind it.

What is a Teatox & What Does Detox Tea Claim to Do?

First of all, let’s deal with the question at hand: What is a teatox? The answer is simple enough. A teatox is the latest detox fad that is being promoted online by the media and celebrities alike. Rather than drinking green smoothies, protein-packed shakes, or anything else, you drink detox tea brands. Many of the brands offer a package of tea that you use during your detox period. At the end of the period, you should supposedly see some health benefits.

What do detox tea brands claim to do?

There are some pretty staggering claims attached to these types of diets, many of which revolve around weight loss. For instance, on the Bootea US main page, the brand says that the detox tea will help customers “look as good as they feel”.[1] The brand also claims that they know what it takes to help you get in shape.[2] However, it’s important to note that the brand does not cite any sources for these claims and the statements are somewhat vague.

Top Tip: Not sure what to believe? Always read the disclaimer on health-related products before buying them!

Another example of a teatox brand is Skinny Mint. The 28-day detox pack claims to reduce bloating while boosting your energy levels.[3] On the results and reviews page of the site, there is an array of “before and after” customer pictures, showing some major weight loss results.[4] There is also a disclaimer on the site that says “individual results may vary”.[5]

Celebrity Endorsement and Teatox Brands

Woman sitting outdoors relaxing and drinking a cup of detox tea
The popularity of teatoxes is driven largely by celebrities who promote them on social media in exchange for payment for their glowing endorsement.

Celebrities including Kylie Jenner and Nicki Minaj have promoted detox tea brands, such as Bootea and Skinny Mint, on social media.[6] A report in Business Insider suggests that social influencers can be paid between $3,000 to $250,000 per endorsement when they promote these brands.[7] The same article also states that many of the major detox tea brands are actually nothing more than laxative-based drinks.[8]

What’s more, not all celebrities endorse these products and some are speaking out about the possible dangers surrounding them. For example, toward the end of last year, actress Jameela Jamil started to call out celebrities who promote the detox tea diet fad.[9] In her social media posts she parodied the idea of teatox diets and detox tea brands using the hashtag #ItBurns. The posts were insinuating that, since many of the detox tea brands act as laxatives, they may cause diarrhea which is why people lose weight.

Does Drinking Detox Tea For Weight Loss Work?

Woman sitting in her bedroom post-workout drinking a cup of detox tea
Detox teas don’t come cheap! Tea programs can cost up to $87 each time.

Drinking detox tea for weight loss might sound like an easy option, but does it really work? Well, there has been no significant research in this area to suggest that it can help you lose weight. Since this type of diet trend is relatively new, it will take some time for scientific journals and solid research to emerge.

That’s why you need to be cautious when believing the claims made by these companies and brands online. What’s more, the tea programs can cost up to $87 each time, meaning they are an expensive option when you’re looking to lose weight.[10] Even the more affordable programs cost upward of $40.[11] Since we’re as yet unsure about whether they work at all, it could be a waste of money. You should do as much research as possible before deciding to invest in a detox tea product.

Of course, on many of the detox tea brand sites, you will find both reviews and result pictures from previous customers. These often show huge weight loss differences and results that appear to be astounding. It’s critical to read the disclaimers attached to these images and keep a sense of perspective when looking at them. While they may look wildly impressive, there could be alternate explanations behind them:

The deception of camera angles

Woman taking a selfie of herself drinking a cup of detox tea

When people take “before and after” pictures, they can often manipulate the results of the images. Using specific stances and camera angles can easily make a person look slimmer than that are in reality. For that reason, it’s important that you view these pictures with a level of scrutiny, rather than merely taking them at face value.

You may lose water weight

Woman sipping teaxtox from a cup

The combination of caffeine and laxatives, which you may find in detox tea brands, can mean that you lose water. Therefore, you’re not actually burning fat or slimming down. The reason you may weigh less and look less bloated is a result of the water that you have lost through issues, such as diarrhea and dehydration. Of course, neither of these issues are particularly good for your health. Moreover, when you start to eat well again and hydrate, you will appear the same as you did before the tea detox. 

The weight loss may be due to other things

Woman in her pajamas sitting on a chair in her bedroom happily drinking detox tea

When you read many of the instructions attached to teatox brands, you will see the same advice. Much of the time, the companies suggest that you pair the detox plan with regular exercise and a balanced diet. If customers take this advice and, for example, start to work out more often or switch to a low-calorie food plan, they may well lose weight. However, that does not mean that the results are solely down to the tea detox.

When you’re considering starting a tea detox, it’s worth taking the time to weigh up the facts and determine what’s right for you. Speaking to a medical professional, such as your local doctor, about your plans is a smart way to ensure that you do what’s right for your body. If you’re looking to lose weight for your health, having an expert’s opinion on the methods you use will mean that you never put your greater health at risk.

Detox Tea Side Effects You Need to Know

If you’re still thinking about using detox tea for weight loss, you might want to take a moment to consider the possible disadvantages here. While the research on detox tea is scant at the moment, we do know a little about the most common ingredients and the side effects that they could cause.

Two of the most popular ingredients in detox tea drinks are caffeine and senna leaf. To understand the common side effects that you may find when you try a detox tea plan, we need to look at how these ingredients affect your body. Here’s what the most interesting pieces of research have to say:

1. It may stop you sleeping at night

Woman holding up a cup of detox tea ready to drink it

Before you choose the right detox tea for you, it pays to look at the ingredients. Many of the major brands are rife with caffeine. As we all know, this substance can affect your sleep. Research actually suggests that having too much caffeine can change the rhythm of your body clock.[12] Since many of the detox plans suggest that you drink the tea more than once a day, you might be ingesting more caffeine than you expect. When you go to bed, one of the more unexpected detox tea side effects might be that you can’t sleep well.

2. It could affect your birth control

Woman staring out the window drinking a cup of detox tea

Many of the teatox brands also contain an ingredient called senna or senna leaf. The ingredient may interfere with some forms of the contraceptive pill, which means that you could be at risk of unwanted pregnancy.[13] The reason is that senna can actually decrease the amount of estradiol, a form of estrogen, that the body can actually absorb. As many birth control pills use estradiol to help prevent pregnancy, this side effect could mean that they are no longer effective. Should you see this ingredient listed in the description, you might want to check with your doctor before using it.

3. It may heighten the risk of heart disease

A woman drinking a cup of teatox

Perhaps one of the most shocking detox tea side effects is that they could increase your risk of heart disease.[14] The reason for this disturbing consequence is down to senna again. If the detox tea you choose has senna in it, you should think twice about using it. Research suggests that senna or senna leaf can cause electrolyte disturbances, which may lead to heart problems in the long-term.[15] This may also mean that existing heart problems worsen when you start to use products that include the ingredient.

4. It could cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting

Woman drinking a cup of detox tea

Plus, it’s worth knowing that there are some instant detox tea side effects you could experience. If the tea is a senna-based drink, you could find that you have stomach cramps, diarrhea, and experience bouts of vomiting.[16] You may also find that your urine turns a red-brown color, according to the National Health Service.[17] In rare cases, you might also find that you experience a red and itchy rash.[18] Should you find that you experience persistent detox tea side effects, you should consult with your doctor.

What Are the Best Detox Teas?

Unfortunately, there’s no miracle cure for weight loss. Whenever a company claims that they will give you instant results or help you drop weight without working out, you should be suspicious. But, there is another side to detox teas. Some teas do have positive side effects and can help promote a healthier lifestyle. When used as part of a balanced diet and alongside a stable exercise program, they can be relatively beneficial.

With that mind, it’s worth taking a look at some of the best detox tea types that you can try for yourself. The research into the tea cleanse fad is quite sparse. However, there have been studies into the various benefits of adding herbal tea to your diet. So, here are some of the natural detox teas and the science behind drinking them. 

Green Tea

A cup of warm green tea, one of the best detox teas

One of the best detox teas is one with which we’re all familiar. Green tea has been touted as a health remedy for a long time and there’s evidence to suggest that it has a wealth of benefits. Here are three of the most intriguing pieces of research surrounding the drink.

Detox benefits

Interested in doing a green tea detox? Research from the American Association for Cancer Research suggests that the concentrated chemicals found in green tea helps to boost the key detoxification enzymes in your body.[19]

Plus, one animal study suggests that drinking green tea can have strong antioxidizing benefits.[20] The research suggests that this property means that green tea can boost the structural integrity of membrane cells as well as relieving biochemical problems.

Green tea could also have surprising benefits when it comes to your liver function. Research suggests that this detox tea, especially Chinese green tea, may even prevent tumors in the liver while also boosting its functionality.[21]

With all of the above research in mind, drinking green tea on a regular basis could help you to detox and boost your health. Of course, it’s crucial that you pair this addition with a healthy diet and lifestyle for the best results. It is unrealistic to believe that a detox tea will solve all of your dietary and detox issues overnight.

Weight loss benefits

It’s no big secret that green tea has some remarkable benefits. While there’s no research to suggest that green tea will give you immediate weight loss results, it could be part of the solution when it comes to weight control.

Animal research published in the Springer Science and Business Media Journal suggests that green tea could help with weight control and help to ward off type 2 diabetes.[22] That means that including it as part of your healthy and balanced diet could mean that you find it easier to maintain a healthy weight.

Turmeric Tea

A large cup of turmeric tea  surrounded by spoons of turmeric tea ingredients.

Turmeric is a remarkable ingredient with a wide range of detoxifying benefits. If you’d like to revamp your help and support your body in its detoxification processes, adding some turmeric tea to your diet could be the answer. Here’s what you need to know about this increasingly popular detox tea.

Antioxidizing benefits

Keeping your liver working well is essential to your overall health and detox abilities. Adding turmeric to your diet could help you do just that. Research suggests that the antioxidizing properties of this ingredient could help to ward off diseases including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, alcoholic liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and liver cancer, among others.[23] The reason is that curcumin – a chemical found in the ingredient – has a high level of antioxidizing traits and can be used as holistic medicine.

Anti-inflammatory benefits

It doesn’t stop there — turmeric could also help the body to manage digestive diseases. Research suggests that curcumin has a wealth of anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative properties.[24] These properties mean that adding turmeric to your food or drinking it as a detox tea could have therapeutic benefits when it comes to functional and organic digestive diseases. However, it’s worth remembering that there is only a small amount of curcumin in turmeric, so the effects may be slight.

Ginger Tea

A flat lay featuring a tea pot, honey pot, slices of lemon, and ginger.

Perhaps one of the most popular detox tea flavors is ginger. Many people find that drinking ginger tea in the morning is a fantastic way to start the day and give them the little kick they’re looking for. Plus, should you choose a brand that boasts real ginger root, you may also get some remarkable health benefits here.

Antioxidant benefits

Oxidative stress — an age-related condition that prevents the body from detoxifying itself well — is linked to a variety of troubling diseases in the long term. With that in mind, perhaps one of the most interesting benefits of ginger tea is its ability to help you detox and get rid of this substance.

Research suggests that ginger can decrease age-related oxidative stress markers when used regularly.[25] That could mean that drinking ginger tea will help you to kick start the detox process within your body, especially as you get older.

Top Tip: Try adding some lemon to your ginger tea to give it some extra zesty flavor and Vitamin C!

Anti-inflammatory benefits

Aside from the detoxifying benefits, experts also believe that ginger has a range of anti-inflammatory traits too. Research suggests that the root can prevent against health concerns including inflammation, osteoarthritis, and rheumatism.[26] However, there has been some inconsistency within the results of these studies. That means that further research is needed to qualify the claim that ginger can rid your body of inflammation.

Detox Tea: Dangerous Fab or a Speedy Dieting Fix?


So-called “teatox” diets can be dangerous. The idea that you can shed pounds simply by drinking a detox tea is a flawed one. What’s more, there is a lot of misinformation out there. If you’re hoping to start a detox tea weight loss program, you should think long and hard about what that means. The only way in which you can stay fit and healthy is to stick to a balanced lifestyle and have a solid nutrition plan. Anything that offers a “quick fix” or “overnight results” is unlikely to be legitimate.

However, there are some herbal teas out there that offer scientifically-backed benefits. Adding natural detox tea drinks to your already healthy diet could be one way to boost your health and wellness. You should be realistic about the results that you will get here. That’s why it’s always important to consult with a medical professional before making any drastic dietary changes.


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