The Ugly Truth: Here's What Detox Teas Are Really Doing To Your Body
It's hard to scroll through Instagram withouoming across a photo or hashtag supporting healthy weight loss goals or fitness motivation. For people struggling to lose weight, this is the right kind of push they need to kickstart or continue their workout plans. So it's easy to see why people feel motivated to purchase products from Instagram that will help them lose extra unwanted pounds.
You also don't have to look far to find celebrities like Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Nicki Minaj, Adrienne Bailon, Amber Rose, and Christinia Milian promoting a "teatox" (detox tea) brand on Instagram. The problem is that these detox teas are dangerously unhealthy, and are virtually unregulated by the FDA.
In other words, detox tea diets may do more harm to your body than good.
Xonecole.com writer Soraya Joseph found this out the hard way after purchasing an Instagram teatox diet back in November. It landed her wriggling in pain from symptoms such as cramping, shortness of breath and heart trouble.
After steeping her tea for longer than what the directions suggested, she said that she felt unbearable cramps while visiting her family house, with a pain in her abdomen that shot up to her chest. She excused herself to attempt to try and use the restroom but never made it as far as to actually doing so. She passed out in the hallway.
"It knocked the wind out of me...I can't explain the pain enough. It was like, I could not breathe and my hands and feet felt like jelly, and so clammy."
After coming to rescue to revive her, her family then called paramedics for help. But the side effects of drinking her teatox were far from over.
That one attempt sent my body into a shock because at that point, it's like your body is already super sensitive and any major type of movement will disrupt it further. I literally got cold all over and got goosebumps.
She said that during the incident, she felt like she had pins and needles in her hands and legs, but she was oddly relieved about that - it meant that she was still alive and breathing. Soraya's first responders explained why her symptoms went left following her teatox drink. Hearing what paramedics had to tell her was very alarming.
Come to find out...I had a Valsalva Maneuver attack. People die from it, they said, more than we know. But they said in a case like mine, it is rare because I'm younger so my heart is stronger. But they said it's still worth seeking immediate attention, especially for older folks.
Soraya quickly abandoned her teatox diet following her attack, but it's made her more aware of buying a celebrity endorsed product. Although some may feel like she should have poured the tea down the drain after realizing that she was using it incorrectly, no product that claims to be natural should be so potent that it sends you to the hospital or causes heart trouble. Either way, CNN and Dallas Morning News medical reporter, Dr. Seema Yasmin, thinks that Soraya is making an excellent choice.
You have to be really weary when something is touted as natural or herbal, because that makes it sound likes it's harmless. But so many of the compounds and chemicals found in these so called natural or herbal tea toxes, sure they might derive from nature, but that doesn't mean they're necessarily safe. So a lot of what we're seeing in some of these ingredients are senna, aloe, rhubarb root, things don't sound that bad, right? But it actually can be quite toxic to the body.
THE ACTIVE INGREDIENT IN TEATOX PRODUCTS
Dr. Yasmin says that one of the active ingredients used in teatoxes is senna leaf, which is nothing more than a laxative, and taking laxatives for weight loss is extremely dangerous. She said that she has never prescribed laxatives for weight loss to her patients, and never will. Although Dr. Yasmin has prescribed laxatives to patients undergoing colonoscopy procedures, she says that there aren't any instances where a medical doctor would prescribe a laxative to a patient for weight loss.
Dr. Oz and The Doctors show contributor, Nurse Alice Benjamin, agrees with Dr. Yasmin. She says that anyone who is naive to how senna actually works could be met with serious consequences behind blindly purchasing teatox diets.
You can have physical and physiological changes to your colon [as a result of ingesting teatox diets]. It could actually change your colon. What the senna does is it causes the intestines to absorb fluids, and when the fluids go, your electrolytes go and you're going to stool all of that out. You're going to lose lots of fluids, you're going to lose lots of electrolytes, which will cause an imbalance. You can also lose important proteins, which means muscle weakness. It can influence your intestine's ability to properly absorb the nutrients you wanted to absorb, so it can be very dangerous.
What may be confusing to some teatox users, or people who are interested in purchasing teatox products, is the before and after Instagram photos of women who have lost weight using them. Although you may see a weight loss difference, you're not actually losing body fat. Dr. Yasmin says that often what you see in those photos is a loss of water weight.
If somebody does feel like they're on the scale every day, they're hopping on and off, they're drinking these teas every day, and they are seeing that there's weight loss, they're not losing body fat; it's just dehydration. Just water loss. Which may not sound that bad, but you think about how important it is to stay hydrated for your brain and for your other organs, it can be really dangerous.
The scary part of using teatox diets, especially if it's a 28-day program, is that it could cause an electrolyte imbalance within your blood. This could lead to heart problems, muscle weakness, and could cause your bowels to stop working altogether. Dr. Yasmin says that one reason why doctors do not prescribe laxatives for more than two weeks is because the body creates a tolerance to the product, even the ones that are natural. So while the teatox product may open your bowels, after two weeks, it may actually cause constipation.
INSTAGRAM IS A BETTER REGULATOR THAN THE FDA
The alarming fact behind teatoxes is that it's considered a supplement, which means that it's not regulated by the FDA. In the past, Instagram has shut down the pages of companies who had received too many consumer complaints about teatox products. But you may not find the FDA stepping in to support U.S customers who fell ill after consuming teatoxes.
Dr. Yasmin said that she's written articles on consumers who have died using supplements that can be purchased at your local grocery store or supplement shop. She says that in the end, it's up to the consumer to be smart about what they choose to purchase to promote weight loss.
...Sadly, it falls on the consumer to be very savvy and very aware and to realize that when something isn't a food, and something isnt'a medicine, and it's a supplement, then supplement falls into a big black hole when it comes to regulation by the government. And that means that lots people found lots of things that you can go out and buy at the grocery store, but what's in it may not be safe, and what it's says is in it is not actually be what's in there. It's very alarming, but it falls on us to be careful consumers.
Nurse Benjamin agreed with Dr. Yasmin, and added that even when a supplement proves to cause harm, the FDA may still not step in and warn consumers about the product until enough harmful or bad things have happened to consumers.
In comparison, the Australian Medical Association has been very vocal about warning Aussie customers on the dangers of using teatox products. A spokesperson for the AMA said that teatoxes promote unhealthy and unrealistic weight loss goals.
There is a lot of truth to that statement. Dr. Yasmin and Nurse Benjamin both say that there is no easy way to shed pounds, and losing weight begins with a healthy foundation of lean meats, fruits, veggies, lots of water, and exercise.
In fact, Being Mary Jane star Gabrielle Union has found much success in controlling her weight with lean meats, veggies, water, and portion control. She told US Weekly back in December that she eats cuts of lean meats, fish, two servings of green vegetables a day, and lots of water. She had this to say to Us Weeklyabout her diet and exercise routines,
“...[You should eliminate] sugary drinks. Sodas, the coffee drinks. Those coffee drinks are pretty much what you're supposed to eat all day...Replace all of those with water. I do a gallon of water a day....It's really, really helpful if you're trying to lose weight. I try to make my plate like a rainbow. So if you can work in some sweet potatoes, or yams, or yellow peppers, just to try to make your plate as colorful as possible. Lean meats...I try to go for leaner cuts of meat.
Get a heart rate monitor. Keep your heart rate in your fat burning zone. For me, it's 120-160. Stay in that zone, and so work smarter, not harder.
Claudia Scott, a registered nutritionist and faculty member at the University of Houston, says that although you may feel like you need calorie rich foods like a burger, baked bread, pastries, and donuts, it's best to also consume nutrient dense foods.
If we're talking from a food as medicine perspective, it's the type of things that we consume that are lower in calories that are going to make a difference [in our weight loss goals]. For example, non-starchy vegetables - very low in calories. You can make them tasty, and add them to many different types of meals that you already have going. If you're eating more vegetables, and eating less of the calorie dense foods, like fried foods, or pastries, or baked breads, that sort of thing, that's going to really make the difference....it's going to make a difference because you're going to lose weight if your body isn't over consuming calories.
WATER, WATER, WATER!
Even if you're currently using a teatox program, and are concerned that maybe you maybe hurting yourself, there is a simple way to evacuate your bowels sans the teatox - drinking plenty of water.
Doctors often suggest that your urine should be light in color, which is an indicator of being properly hydrated. Nurse Benjamin and Dr. Yasmin also says that if you drink plenty of water, you won't have a need for teatoxes or over the counter laxatives.
Claudia offered up a great way to ensure that you're intaking the proper amount of water during the day, or when you're out for a night on the town with friends.
If I'm drinking something that is containing caffeine or alcohol, or whatever it is...for everything that I consume that is not water, I consume that amount of water as well.
Again, there's plenty of ways to lose weight without a teatox diet. Check out our gallery of celebrities who nailed their weight loss goals below!
What has been you experiences with using teatox diets? Let us know in the comments below.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
With two Eclipses happening this month, this is one of the powerhouse months of 2023 and one that will be unforgettable for many. The month begins in Libra Season, and with Mercury also entering Libra on October 4th. When Mercury is in Libra, the focus is on keeping the peace, creating harmony, and finding the beauty in life. Relationships, finances, pleasure, and creation are all the focus during Libra Season, and this month overall will be creating a lot of positive change in these areas of life.
What October 2023 Has In Store For Your Zodiac Sign
On October 8th, Venus moves into earth sign Virgo, and love takes on a more serious and grounded tone here. Venus in Virgo has high standards and wants the best of the best. There is a possibility of becoming overly critical in love or relationships with this energy, however overall, Venus in Virgo will be focused on letting go of unhealthy behaviors in love and creating more positive ways of relating, giving, and receiving in relationships. A few days later, Pluto goes direct in Capricorn after going retrograde in Aquarius back in May, and fewer power struggles and obstacles are more likely.
With Pluto direct in Capricorn, it is easier to reach your goals, build success, and see your own self-empowerment in it all.
On October 12th, Mars enters Scorpio, and Mars loves being in this water sign as it’s the ruler of Scorpio. Mars in Scorpio is passionate and direct and heats things up when it comes to your relationships. Mars will be in Scorpio until November 24th, and a spark is definitely being lit. A few days later, we have a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Libra.
This Solar Eclipse is creating a fresh start in love, but may also be bringing things to the forefront that are uncomfortable to see. A Solar Eclipse in Libra is relationship-oriented, and this is where you will be seeing the most impact now.
Before the month ends, Mercury enters Scorpio on October 22nd, Scorpio Season begins on the 23rd, and there is a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on October 28th. The end of October is when a lot of big moves are being made, and transformations are occurring, and it’s about letting go of baggage before moving forward again. The Lunar Eclipse in Taurus is another eclipse that has an impact on relationships, as both Libra and Taurus are ruled by Venus, the planet of love.
Through what is changing and transforming in some of your close relationships, this energy suggests there is greater love on the other side of it. Find gratitude in where you are, and stand in hope and self-belief for where you want to be.
Your October 2023 Monthly Horoscopes
ARIESAriesKyra Jay for xoNecole
Your strength is needed this month, Aries. During October, the Sun is in Libra, meaning the Sun is in your 7th house. The 7th house is the house of love and relationships, but it’s also the house of open enemies and opposition. This month, you will be finding your balance between the opening you are seeing in your life right now and what still needs to be built.
On October 14th, there is a New Moon Solar Eclipse in this area of your chart, the 7th house, and this is an impactful time for you emotionally. The intentions you have been setting in your love life and financially are creating a new scene for you. This is a good month to do more of the things that make you happy, to get creative, and to notice the beauty in your life. Before the month ends, your ruling planet, Mars, moves into your 8th house, and things get deep and even more emotional for you moving into November.
TAURUSTaurusKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is a month of reflection for you, Taurus. There is a lot happening this month and a lot happening for you personally, yet you are taking the time to tend to your inner world and recreate your safe spaces. With Venus in a fellow earth sign and in your 5th house of romance for most of this month, you will be sure to have plenty of love in your life to help you through some of the downtime you are getting in October.
Mars moves into your house of love on October 12th, and this is heating things up for you in your relationships and sex life. Fuel your passions and notice what is lighting you up inside right now. Before the month ends, on October 28th, there is a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in your sign, and you are going through some major life changes. You are closing one chapter of your life of self-discovery and moving forward with a new view of yourself and the world around you.
GEMINIGeminiKyra Jay for xoNecole
This month is all about letting go, Gemini. You are moving through a time of releasing what has been filling your world with more chaos and confusion than clarity and are paving a new path for yourself. Your ruling planet, Mercury, is in your house of happiness for most of this month, and you are really thinking of the things that your heart wants and expressing yourself through this space of openness as well. Communication channels are exciting for you this month.
On October 14th, the New Moon Eclipse will be highlighting all of the energy of love you have been feeling this month and will be helping you hone in on your creative passions and hobbies as well. This month is surprising you on how well things turn out when you let go of what isn’t working. The second eclipse of the month is on the 28th, and this one for you is about laying the past to rest once and for all and giving yourself time to heal and process.
CANCERCancerKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is an activating month for you, Cancer. There are some eye-opening moments happening, and a lot of things are coming to a head. The energy of the month is about letting things find their place and allowing yourself to be okay in the process. Venus is in your 3rd house of communication for most of this month, and you will be able to communicate more freely how you are feeling and what you need in your relationships right now.
With the Sun in Libra and in your 4th house for most of October, home is really where the heart is right now. Spending time in comfortable environments where you feel the most at ease is nourishing. Before the month ends, there is a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in your 11th house of community, and things are coming full circle for you. Lean on your support systems and community for an extra hand, and know that you deserve to take up space.
LEOLeoKyra Jay for xoNecole
This is a month of things moving forward for you, Leo. Patience is still needed, as things may not be moving as quickly as expected, however, they are moving nonetheless, and you are leaving the space of stagnation you have been feeling the past couple of months. Openings are coming into your life, and with Venus now in your 2nd house, you are able to capitalize on what you have been investing in and claim your abundance.
The Solar Eclipse happening mid-month will be awakening something within you when it comes to expressing yourself. You are breaking free from fears, limitations, and self-judgments and seeing yourself as someone who deserves to be heard. The Sun is also in this area of your chart until the end of the month, and you have all the support from the universe right now to speak up and speak your truths.
VIRGOVirgoKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is a month of blessings for you, Virgo. This year has been a year of a lot of ups and downs for you, and in the second half of this year, you really get to settle into more stability and positive fruition. You are being guided to use your instincts wisely this month, however, so as to keep blessings rolling. Your ruling planet, Mercury, will be in your 2nd house of income for most of the month, as well as the Sun, and financially, this is a really good month for you.
On October 8th, Venus moves into your sign, and you are receiving and feeling the love right now. Venus will be in your sign until November 8th, and over the next month, this is a good time for your relationships and business, receiving positive feedback, and putting yourself out there. On October 28th, there is a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse happening in your 9th house of adventure, and you could be seeing some travel or education plans coming to fruition now. You are really ready to enjoy how far you have come this month.
LIBRALibraKyra Jay for xoNecole
This month is all about creating your dreams, Libra. This is an exciting month for you and one where you are healing your inner child, gaining a new perspective, and manifesting your life. Libra Season is fully underway, and this is an impactful Libra Season for you, as there is a New Moon Solar Eclipse happening in your sign on the 14th. This Solar Eclipse is your time to shine, to bring your dreams to the forefront, and to let go of the past that doesn’t resonate with you anymore. It’s all about the vision this month; focus on the best one for yourself.
With the Sun and Mercury in your 1st house of self for most of the month and Venus in your 12th house of closures, you are finding your balance between the new and the old. You know there is a lot to release emotionally in your life still, but you are also giving yourself the space and freedom to soak in the good that has already arrived and making you happy right now. On October 23rd, Libra Season ends, and you are ready to focus more on your plans for the future.
SCORPIOScorpioKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is a month of rebirth for you, Scorpio. This is one of the most powerful months for you and one where you are starting fresh in many ways. Mercury is in your house of endings for most of the month, and your mind is focused on your spirituality, finding solutions, and letting go of perspectives and habits that don’t serve you or your health. Through the transformations that are occurring right now, new life is coming to fruition.
Mars and Mercury both enter your sign before Scorpio Season begins on the 23rd, and by the end of October, the energy moves from release to receive. You have more energy at your disposal when Mars is in your sign, and you are moving through a time of passion, action, and making things happen for yourself. This Scorpio Season for you is one where you are creating a new life for yourself and following the dreams you left to the wayside.
SAGITTARIUSSagittariusKyra Jay for xoNecole
Sagittarius, October is all about the heart and about showing up. This month for you is a time of support, friendship, and community, and a time where you are really discovering who your people are. You are awakening to what your inner child needs to heal and are seeking forgiveness this month. This is a time for you to move toward a new path in your life, one that feels more fulfilling for you and your well-being.
Venus is in Virgo and in your 10th house of career this month, and you are seeing some positive changes within your professional world. You are being received especially favorably right now, and this is a good month to ask for a promotion, network, or redefine your career goals. On October 14th, there is a New Moon Solar Eclipse happening in your 11th house, and your hopes and dreams are coming true for you. The clarity you gain this month is life-changing.
CAPRICORNCapricornKyra Jay for xoNecole
This month is all about patience, finding your peace, and exploring the world, Capricorn. You are focusing a lot on your belief systems, your intentions, and what goals you have set for yourself and your life. Venus is in your 9th house of adventure for most of the month, and you are really thinking about the big picture right now. You are doing more things differently this time of the year, thinking outside of the box and allowing your intentions to come to fruition.
On October 10th, Pluto goes direct in your sign. Pluto retrograde entered your sign in June, and you finally get to settle into the transformations that have been occurring since then. You’ve had a lot of moments of self-clarity and change, but now you are ready to live in this space and experience fewer changes to your environment. On October 28th, there is a Full Moon Eclipse happening, and this Lunar Eclipse is a time of love coming full circle for you. Relationships are developing at the end of October, and you are letting go of the past in love.
AQUARIUSAquariusKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is all about allowing life to unfold effortlessly, Aquarius. The path of least resistance is the most rewarding one, and this month, you are tapping into your inner faith. You have truly been trusting the process, and with the Sun in your 9th house for most of the month, the divine guidance is there for you right now. This month is about trusting that things are coming together for you and enjoying your life how you can right now.
On October 14th, there is a New Moon Solar Eclipse happening, and this eclipse is helping you build new foundations in your life. You have goals you want to set, places you want to see, and people you want to meet, and this eclipse is highlighting all of that for you. The second eclipse of the month is happening on the 28th, and this Lunar Eclipse is about letting things settle in, finding your ground, and nourishing your inner world. You are going within a lot this month, and through the new insight you have found, you are ready to make some concrete decisions that have been needed.
PISCESPiscesKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is a time of compassion, nurture, and love, Pisces. You are putting the love into your life and feeling this energy come back to you as well. Venus is in Virgo, your opposite sign, for most of the month, and this is good energy when it comes to your relationships and your love life. Your focus is on the people in your life and where you want things to grow in love, and you are putting in the effort to make your dreams come true for you here.
With the Sun also in your 8th house of commitments for most of the month, another love area of your chart, you can expect this to be a more emotional month for you. You are getting vulnerable, expressing where you stand, and creating a new slate for yourself in love. On October 28th, there is a Full Moon Eclipse happening in your 3rd house of communication, and the messages and insights you have been looking for are coming in.
The end of the month is a busier time for you, and you will be suddenly seeing everything you want to do and plan right now.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Kyra Jay for xoNecole