Revive Reviews: Detox Teas

Many detox teas on the market promise weight loss and a reduction in bloating. The reality of these teas is they contain herbs with laxative and diuretic properties that cause the body to lose fluid. The decrease in bloating is simply dehydration, which will cause a fluid shift in the body. On the scale, this will appear as weight loss, but it is only a temporary effect.


Many detox teas contain herbs that possess natural laxative properties that cause loose stools and diarrhea, which may also result in abdominal pain. It is important to note that laxatives act on the large intestine, not the small intestine. Food still passes normally through the small intestine where the majority of the energy and nutrients are absorbed. The laxative will only result in a loss of electrolytes, minerals and water.  Chronic use of these herbs can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

The wide variety of herbs and supplements that are incorporated into detox teas claim to promote weight loss without any concrete evidence that they are effective. Some of the tea ingredients may even cause kidney stone formation.

 Reasons some people see results

  • Caffeine content — Caffeine is an appetite suppressant and natural diuretic.
    • Diuretics will increase urination and dehydration – This will reflect as weight loss on the scale but no actual body fat mass will have decreased (just fluid loss).
  • The prioritization of drinking fluids (tea) throughout the day – May replace mindless/excessive snacking.
  • Inspiring other healthful habits —  Habits like:
    • Reducing eating out
    • Meal planning and preparing meals at home
    • More balanced food choices leading to inevitable weight reduction

In addition to the tea itself, many of these detox packages are delivered with additional fitness and nutrition instructions. They inform the user that maximum results will be achieved if the tea is paired with a good diet and regular exercise… In reality, if we eat balanced and healthy meals as part of an active lifestyle there is no real need for detoxifying tea at all. Detox tea alone will not get anyone to their “after” photo. Reaching those health and fitness goals is a holistic journey that requires work in all areas – nutrition, fitness and lifestyle. Unfortunately, there is no quick and easy fix.


As an alternative, green tea is a well-researched tea, and provides a myriad of possible health benefits including prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. These health benefits are associated with the presence of polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) called catechins. On top of this, studies suggest that green tea may actually help promote weight loss.  Among other citings, this is largely supported by and attributed to its caffeine content. (Decaffeinated green tea does not show any significant benefits in the area of weight loss.)  A moderate intake of green tea (2-3 cups/day) can be beneficial to health. Excessive consumption of caffeinated green tea will increase diuresis, fluid loss and possible risk of dehydration. So be sure to balance consumption delicately.

Keep in mind

It is important to note that proper hydration is essential for lubricating our joints, bowel regulation, transportation of toxins out of the body through urine, and the prevention of muscle cramping, head fog and migraines. Hydration is key to maintaining a healthy body weight as we are less likely misinterpret thirst for hunger or cravings for food items.

Teas marketed for detoxing have not been evaluated for safety. There is even higher risk for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or individuals with pre-existing medical concerns. Herb/tea blends can interact with medications. If you are pregnant or breast feeding we strongly suggestion that you do NOT experiment with detox teas.  Consult your personal health care professional before trying any kind of herbal supplements.


Revive Wellness is a team of passionate and evidence-based Registered Dietitians specialized in nutrition and wellness coaching for the Edmonton area.

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