Detox teas pitched as weight-loss boost, but experts urge caution

Many of us have tried different combinations of diet and exercise to tackle those extra pounds gained during the holidays.

The latest weapon in the battle of bulge comes in a bag: Special teas consumed in a regimen called a teatox.

And Americans are spending while they're sipping: $62 million spent on teatox last year.

Detox teas contain a variety of ingredients, including some that claim to help with weight loss. Among them are stimulants like guarana which can contain up to four times the amount of caffeine in coffee.

"Too much caffeine will not only not help long-term with weight loss but can cause issues like jitteriness and nervousness," says Diane Umansky with Consumer Reports.

These teatoxes also often contain laxatives like senna or senna leaf.

"The reason you might see a short-term dip in the scale is because they're dehydrating," Umansky says. "But once you consume enough liquid, your weight will go right back up. And used to excess, laxatives can be dangerous."

Detox teas are often regulated like dietary supplements, which means much more loosely than FDA-approved medications. That means what's listed on the label isn't always reliable.

And if weight loss is your goal, there are better, safer and proven strategies.

"It's good to keep an eye on your portions and keep those under control," Umansky says. "Get plenty of fiber, which you'll find in whole grains and in produce. And step up your physical activity if you're not so active."

If you're still thinking of a teatox, talk to your doctor or pharmacist first to make sure none of the ingredients conflict with any medication you are taking.
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