Detox teas remain popular, but are they healthy? And can they aid weight loss? This week at Zest Tea, we're exploring how detox tea works, the different types of detox teas, and how you can use caffeinated tea to reach your weight loss goals in a safe and healthy manner.
If you are at all concerned about detoxing or need advice on how to diet or fast in a safe way, don't hesitate to contact a healthcare professional.
The medical definition of detoxing is a treatment or course of treatments that remove harmful toxins from your body.1 This often refers to alcohol, poison or drugs. If you believe you have a toxic substance in your body, then stop wasting time looking for tea and contact a medical professional immediately!
The other definition of detoxing refers to a health regime or diet that uses certain foods and drinks (or a lack of them) to potentially remove toxins from the body. The idea of consuming substances or partaking in an activity to remove toxins from our bodies is not a new one - ritual cleansings and fasting can be found in numerous cultures historically. Saunas (and sweat baths) are one example, used in Ancient Rome as well as by Native American cultures, and may even date back to the Neolithic age.2
But do we really need to detoxify our bodies now? Many detox diets are aimed at removing toxins that supposedly build up in our bodies from our diets, inhaling pollution, chemical exposure, and other potentially dangerous substances found in our environment. However, we now know that the body has a number of natural detoxing mechanisms:
Drinking detox tea isn't essential for maintaining healthy bodily functions and natural detoxification. Your body can do this naturally, with just a balanced and healthy diet to fuel it.3 If your body isn't naturally detoxifying, then you should seek medical help.
There are so many different detox teas, from detox tea for weight loss, to detox teas for digestive health, skinny tea, colon cleanse tea, and the dubious "14 day detox tea". With the body's ability to naturally detoxify, are these teas a complete scam? It's likely that many of them are.
A detox tea for weight loss, for example, may rely on diuretic and laxative effects that help you shed water weight as part of the "cleansing process". This simply dehydrates your body and flushes out the digestive system, but there's no evidence that this removes any more toxins than your body would remove naturally.
However, there are some teas that can be beneficial for detoxifying. For example, there are teas that could:
Tea can be a great tool to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, help your body naturally remove toxins, and comes with numerous health benefits - as well as tasting great. But tea itself will not detoxify your body.
Tea for weight loss can be quite effective for two reasons. The first is that tea contains various catechins, amino acids, and antioxidants that have been linked to enhanced weight loss. The second is that all teas, from decaffeinated green tea to herbal teas to rooibos tea, are naturally sugar free unless you add additional ingredients.
Switching from a high calorie drink to a low calorie tea can be a great way to reduce your body weight. If you still need a little sweetness in your tea, read our section on artificial sweeteners in our latest article, How to Sweeten Tea (9 Different Ways).
Green tea is our favorite weight loss tea. Of all the tea types, green tea has some of the highest levels of EGCG. This catechin found in tea is linked to a positive effect on weight loss and weight management.4
Green tea leaf brews into a low-caffeine beverage, so if you're sensitive to caffeine then it's a great choice. However, if you prefer a high-caffeine tea, you'll benefit from greater weight management and loss through thermogenesis and fat oxidation.
Learn more about why and how high caffeine Zest green tea can help you lose weight in our article Searching for The Best Tea for Energy and Weight Loss.
Matcha is a type of green tea. Instead of infusing the leaves with water, you whisk them into water. As a result, you consume 100% of the tea leaf material including the caffeine and amino acid content. Furthermore, matcha is a great source of antioxidants that support cognitive function and prevent diseases.5 That's why matcha is a great type of detox tea for weight loss.
If you want to consume detox tea but aren't keen on herbal or green flavors, black tea is a good alternative. We recommend our Spicy Masala Chai black tea blend to anyone looking to switch from coffee, as it has a rich flavor with ginger root and sweet spices.
As a weight loss tea, black tea is best consumed without milk and sugar. Furthermore, it can be beneficial for your digestive tract. A study looking at tea and weight loss found that fermented teas including black tea, oolong tea, and puerh, interact with gut microbiota and inhibit enzymes, which could in turn aid weight loss.6
We have the best detox tea if you're looking for a high-caffeine way to boost your day. Whether you've got long work hours ahead of you, or a long gym session to tackle, our energy tea will give you the push you need.
In our teas, you'll only find natural ingredients such as ginger root, orange peel, hibiscus, and numerous other nutrient-rich and plant-based flavorings. Along with a healthy diet, our teas can help you cut down on sugar without sacrificing energy. By adding extra tea extract to our blends, we can naturally enhance the caffeine levels (which we know boosts weight loss, as aforementioned) for a smooth and steady energy boost.
Learn more about Zest Tea energy by exploring our full range of hot tea flavors and sparkling tea flavors.
There are numerous herbal ingredients that may be able to boost your body's natural detoxification process or aid weight loss in some other way. Here are a few examples with studies showing a link between the ingredient and either weight loss or healthy bodily functions.
Milk thistle tea is one of the best detox teas if you want to support your liver function. Milk thistle has been used for centuries to maintain healthy liver function, which in turn enables your body to effectively eliminate toxins. The component in milk thistle that's most beneficial is silybin, which may also be helpful in treating liver diseases.7
Dandelion can have a protective effect, particularly for acute hepatitis, lung injury and colorectal cancer.8 Dandelion root tea can be purchased in tea bags or made with roasted dandelion root. It has a nutty and earthy flavor.
Burdock root is an old remedy. Traditional Chinese medicine uses it for "detoxifying" the blood, improving blood circulation, and improving skin quality. However, while anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties have been found in burdock roots, many of these traditional health benefits are unsubstantiated.9
Licorice root is not the best detox tea, despite it having proven antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. This is because licorice can cause hypertension in high concentrations. Licorice root can be used to treat gastrointestinal disorders and liver disease, but only with professional medical guidance.10
Nettle leaf as a natural detox tea is certainly plausible, as it has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used traditionally to treat cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension.11 When brewed into tea, stinging nettle leaf tastes both grassy and earthy.
Lime leaf has clear antibacterial properties, although it may be more effective as a nasal spray for cleansing the respiratory tract than as a tea for detoxing!12
Hawthorn berries are a good source of flavonoids and extracts can sometimes be used to treat heart failure. However, hawthorn can interact with certain medications including anticoagulants, so talk to your doctor before drinking hawthorn berry tea to detox.13
Most detox teas contain a trending ingredient that's claimed to aid weight loss - garcinia cambogia is one of these ingredients. Extracts can be used as a food preservative or flavoring agent, but it's not a good idea to drink it as tea. Some weight loss products containing garcinia cambogia have been linked to liver injury.14
Traditional Chinese medicine has used lotus leaf as a detox tea for weight loss and improving liver function for generations. Recent studies have confirmed that it has hepatoprotective properties, but it's unknown how effective it is when consumed as a detox tea.15
Guarana seed is a known stimulant and a source of caffeine. It's also thought to be an aphrodisiac and is included in some detox teas. Thanks to the caffeine content, it may be helpful for weight loss and is generally considered safe to consume without any serious health risks.16
Senna leaf has shown promise for treating obesity and managing diabetes, however it's unclear how effective it is when consumed as a detox tea.17
Rhubarb has been used as an herbal remedy for constipation, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and even gingivitis. However, few studies back up these claims and it's unknown how effective it is in a detox tea.18 Regardless, rhubarb is a common and widely consumed food that's unlikely to provoke any serious side effects whether you drink it in tea or bake it into a dessert.
While a "detox tea" may provide some unique health benefits, if you want to keep your body as healthy and toxin-free as possible you should aim to make lifestyle changes a priority. The idea of a miracle detox tea curing all our problems sounds great... but it's not very realistic and it's not supported by modern science.
Our advice is to use tea as a tool to rehydrate and energize your body, while focusing on eating a balanced diet and creating a healthy lifestyle.
To enhance weight loss, you should do more than just drink detox tea. Healthy lifestyle changes along with caffeinated and herbal teas, plus regular exercise, is the best way to enhance weight loss and keep it off. Tea can be a great tool for weight loss, but it's not a miracle solution.
Green tea is the best for losing belly fat, as unique catechins found in green tea can aid abdominal fat metabolism during exercise.19 Healthy eating habits as well as reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and cutting back on alcohol also helps burn belly fat.20 You'll need to make lifestyle changes to keep the weight off permanently.
Yes, if you switch a sugary soda for a zero calorie herbal tea, you'll reduce your sugar and calorie intake which could help you lose weight. There is some evidence that certain teas, such as matcha green tea, can aid fat burning during exercise too.21 But you still need to put in the effort!
The fastest way to lose weight on the scales is with a detox tea for weight loss that has diuretic or laxative effects. This will help you lose water weight as it dehydrates you. However, this is not a healthy way to lose weight, and you're highly likely to put all the weight back on when your detox is over. A better way to lose weight and help your body naturally flush out toxins is by maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise, with zero calorie and plant-based teas like Zest Tea.