The problem with ‘detox’ tea

posted on April 16, 2019

If you’re reading this you probably use Instagram, which means you’ve probably seen plenty of pictures like this on your explore page:

An attractive girl wearing sports gear (or nothing) holding a bag of tea claiming that it helped her to lose weight.

These images are EVERYWHERE and sometimes they come in the form of ‘before and afters’ too, where in the first picture the girl looks sad and bloated, and in the second, she looks happy and slimmer claiming that the results are from drinking tea.

It looks tempting doesn’t it? So instead of exercising and eating less, we can all just turn on Netflix, pour ourselves a tea and reach our bOdY gOaLz? It’s no surprise that people buy into this crap – the marketing is clever, it’s affordable, and well, why wouldn’t you try it – you’ve tried everything else… right?

Let’s take a step back and look at what these teas claim to help you do;

  • Increase energy levels
  • Suppress appetite
  • Detoxify the body
  • Lose weight
  • Burn calories
  • Boost your metabolism

Everything on the above list is a lie. How do we know this? Because there are absolutely no clinical studies to support it. But what’s the worst that could happen? Someone buys a tea, they drink it, it doesn’t work, no harm done, right? Well, not really.

Not only are these products completely unethical and lack integrity, they damage our relationship with food, continuing to keep us confused about what it actually means and takes to be healthy. How will people ever learn that losing weight just requires an energy deficit, if brands like this continue to come out with magical weight loss methods? They’re taking advantage of our confusion, and I’m not cool with that.

In addition, the ingredients in detox teas aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and recently, some teas have been found to contain dangerous drugs and chemicals not advertised on the packaging… just take a moment to read that again. There have been serious cases of illness and near death experiences as a result of drinking these teas and coffees.

Most detox teas are sold with instructions for diet and exercise during a “cleansing” period of a week or more which they claim may help expel toxins from the body. It’s usually this effort from the consumer which results in a calorie deficit and is the actual reason for their weight loss. But all the time they’ve been drinking this tea… so they believe that it’s responsible for their results. Other people, however, are paid to endorse the product and will create false before and after pictures to try and get more clicks through their AWIN link to gain commission. It’s super unethical for influencers to do this, but they are not trusted health professionals and often they’re unaware of what they’re doing. They are also sucked into the marketing and believe that these products must work, so create before and after pictures purely for advertising. I’m certain that if influencers knew the dangers and considered the harm that these products can do both physically and mentally, they’d think twice before posting. I can’t speak for everyone though. But with that being said, EU law actually forbids the use of before and after pictures anyway, because you’re not allowed to make claims about the rate of weight loss from a product.


To summarise, don’t trust everything you read on social media. It is not currently illegal for brands to lie to you to sell their products, and nor is it illegal for influencers to endorse products which have no clinical evidence.

If a magical juice claims to help you lose weight, it’s most likely a scam. In an ideal world we’d all have access to an experienced and knowledgeable nutritionist, but this is simply not accessible for affordable for most people. Social media can be a great place to look for free advice, but you NEED TO MAKE SURE that the person you’re following is properly qualified to be handing out facts and advice.

All of my nutrition knowledge comes from Claire Baseley and Rhiannon Lambert – two nutritionists that I 100% trust and post LEGIT content about nutrition.