By Eleise Britt
Weight loss teas claim to suppress appetite, increase fat burning and boost metabolism.
But do they work?
This article takes a sales-free look at the scientific evidence.
What Is Weight Loss Tea?
Weight loss teas are usually a blend of tea and herbs, depending on the brand.
They're said to help with weight loss by enhancing fat burning, increasing metabolism and suppressing appetite.
Many are also marketed as "detox teas" and "fit teas," with claims they increase energy and cleanse your body of toxins.
Most of these teas come with a recommended exercise and eating plan to be followed in addition to drinking the tea every day or two.
They are generally expensive and heavily marketed on social media.
Summary: Weight loss teas are a blend of tea and herbs that are claimed to enhance weight loss through several different mechanisms. Detox teas and fit teas are similar and all come at a premium price.
Diuretics and Laxatives in Weight Loss Tea
Many weight loss teas contain laxatives, caffeine or diuretics.
These ingredients can lead to short-term loss of water weight, giving you the illusion of having lost weight or feeling slimmer.
As the name suggests, a drop in water weight is a drop in the amount of water stored in the body. This type of weight loss is not from a reduction of fat stores and is not a sustainable method of weight loss.
As soon as you stop using the tea or hydrate properly, you will regain the water weight.
Losing water weight can also lead to dehydration. It is not a healthy or safe practice and can lead to serious health problems.
For weight loss to be sustainable you need to decrease the amount of fat stored in the body.
Many weight loss teas contain a natural laxative called senna.
Laxatives make you move your bowels more frequently and in some cases senna can cause stomach cramps, pain and diarrhea.
Long-term use of laxatives is not only unpleasant, it can become dangerous.
Continual use can cause your body to become dependent on the laxative, which is especially problematic when you stop taking them. Dehydration and severe electrolyte imbalance can also occur.
Also be mindful that psyllium husk, a type of fiber supplement, can have a laxative effect. It's commonly used as an ingredient in weight loss teas.
Diuretics make you urinate.
This is because they stimulate the body to excrete increased water and sodium.
This may be useful if your body is holding on to excess fluid. However, they are not useful for long-term weight loss and can cause dehydration.
Natural diuretics found in weight loss teas include:
Tea leaves naturally contain caffeine, albeit in small amounts.
Summary: Many weight loss teas contain laxatives and diuretics. They can cause a loss of water weight but not body fat.
Do They Enhance Fat Burning, Suppress Appetite and Boost Metabolism?
Some weight loss teas do not contain diuretics or laxatives.
Instead they use ingredients claimed to have fat-burning, appetite-suppressing and metabolism-boosting properties.
Many of these ingredients lack evidence to support these claims.
Garcinia Cambogia has been used as an ingredient in many weight loss supplements.
However, evidence to support weight loss claims is not strong.
A large systematic review of trials found any weight loss that resulted from taking garcinia cambogia was minimal and short term (1).
Watch this video for a more in depth look at garcinia cambogia.
There's no solid evidence in humans available to support any weight loss effects of Ginseng (2).
This includes gynostemma pentaphyllum which is often referred to as a type of ginseng.