Sometimes it feels as though I can't even exist on the internet for more than five minutes without seeing advertisements for fad diet products like shakes, meal replacement bars, and belly fat loss teas. Not only do I grow tired of seeing things like this, but I also worry about how many people are actually buying these products in hopes that they'll lose weight.
So, instead of just ignoring these advertisements and moving on with my life, I did what most writers would do and decided I needed to see for myself. I went to Amazon, typed in "belly fat loss teas" and ordered four of the top-ranking products.
Spoiler alert: these teas are absolutely bogus, and some can even lead to serious health complications or disordered eating if taken over longer periods of time.
Highly dangerous belly fat teas
Some of the first weight-loss teas I tried were two of the top-rated choices on Amazon: 3 Ballerinas Dieter Tea and Hyleys Slim Tea. I've read a lot about both of these products as being helpful for relieving bloating and aiding in weight loss, so I wanted to try them for myself.
The first of many reasons these "belly fat loss" teas can be dangerous is that a lot of them contain natural laxatives, with the most widely-used being senna leaves. Senna is used in many eastern medicine practices as a relief for bloating and constipation, but it has unfortunately been picked up in many weight loss teas as the main ingredient.
If you're actually experiencing discomfort from constipation, a laxative may help. However, using it over longer periods of time as a weight-loss method can be both mentally and physically harmful. Not only can you develop a laxative dependence or experience weakened bowel functions, but according to a study from the American Journal of Public Health, women who used a laxative for their weight loss efforts increased their chances of developing an eating disorder by six times.
I only tried each tea once, and while I'll spare you the details, I will say that the senna leaves definitely work. Although I can see how this tea may be helpful if you're actually in need of an intense laxative, I'm saddened to know that there are so many brands out there that are advertising this as the solution for weight loss.
Not only can taking these teas potentially harm your digestive tract and your mental health, but if someone actually does lose a few pounds in the process, they'll instantly gain them right back.
The semi-bogus teas
After trying these laxative-heavy weight-loss teas and quickly throwing them in the garbage, I ordered two "belly fat" teas that had a different approach and were also highly rated on Amazon. I selected the Fit Tea 28-Day Detox and the Rapid Fire Herbal Teatox.
Both of these teas are laxative-free and take a bit more of a "gentle" approach to detoxing and cleansing. For example, the Rapid Fire Teatox contains herbs like green tea EGCG, dandelion root, peppermint, and cinnamon and markets itself as a "metabolism booster." The Fit Tea Detox contains a combination of ginger, green tea, rooibos tea, and pomegranate and states that it can help reduce bloating, lower water retention, and cleanse your digestive system.
I'm certainly not saying that I promote these products, and I still stand behind the fact that weight-loss teas are all bogus. However, I was at least relieved to know these products didn't use a laxative effect for their methods and instead market themselves with a more gradual approach.
And while studies have shown that green tea and certain herbal teas may be able to aid in weight loss efforts, these products should not be advertised as a weight loss solution because losing weight in a healthy, sustainable, safe way requires more of an overall lifestyle change.
The real tea on belly fat loss drinks
At the end of the day, losing belly fat requires more than just a miracle drink to sip on. Because much of your belly fat is technically "visceral" fat, losing it in a safe way is about changing up your diet and getting enough daily movement in your routine.
Drinking teas like these may temporarily reduce bloating or constipation, but they won't help you actually shrink the fat around your organs. Ultimately, these belly fat loss teas are bogus not only because they're ultimately ineffective, but they can be harmful to your mental and physical health.