We're sure you've heard the word "skinny teas" before...but do you really know what they are or the side effects that they can have? It can be hard to decipher which teas are natural and those that are harmful with so much media attention surrounding skinny teas, so we sat down with our GMB Health Advisor, Dietician Chloe Mcleod to find out all you need to know. Plus, Chloe shares her top choice for an all natural, beneficial cleansing tea.
At GMB we have never been a fan of the word skinny or skinny teas. Can you explain what they are?
Skinny teas are teas that claim to help you lose weight, or become ‘skinny’, due to some of the ingredients that they contain. These often include laxatives, sweeteners and caffeine.
Why have they become so common and popular?
I believe they have become popular due to so much body dissatisfaction in the population, and as a result, people looking for quick fixes to help them to be ‘skinny’, and as such, potentially help improve body confidence.
Why do we need to be careful?
Drinking a ‘skinny tea’ wont automatically result in weight loss – if you look at the fine print on most of these teas, it will usually say something along the lines of ‘when paired with regular physical activity and a healthy diet’ – so weight loss will often occur anyway, without the tea.
Also, many of these teas contain compounds without a lot of science backing them specifically for weight loss, or that may be unhealthy. Artificial sweeteners are a common ingredient, and may actually result in weight GAIN. On top of this other sweetners are sometimes used, such as sorbitol and mannitol. Whilst these are naturally found in many foods, they may have a laxative effect when consumed in large quantities. Also, for people with IBS, these are considered FODMAPs and intake may need to be monitored.
What happens to the body when there is a laxative?
Laxatives increase rate at which faecal matter is broken up and moved through the intestines at an increased rate. It may result in fewer nutrients being absorbed by the body, making it harder to reach daily nutrition needs.
What are some better alternatives that may be referred to as slim or cleanse teas but have other natural benefits?
Teas that are rich in herbs and spices, such as turmeric, burdock root, dandelion root and ginger. This means increased nutrient density in the tea. Teas with only natural plant ingredients, such as Qi Teas may have other benefits as well, such as managing inflammation, potentially increasing heat production (and as such an increase in the energy your body uses), in an entirely natural way.
What are the benefits of these these types of cleansing teas
Due to the absence of artificial laxatives and sweeteners, Qi Teas remain an entirely herbal tea, with the added benefits of various spices as well. This means improved nutrient density, and better ability to access the great nutrients some of these compounds provide.
How do we know what to look out for in a cleansing tea?
Look for a base of green, black, white or herbal tea, and then extra ingredients that you enjoy for flavor and health benefits; turmeric, ginger, burdock, lemongrass, oolong and peppermint are just some of the fabulous ingredients which are infused into Qi Teas, making them both tasty and nutritious.
What's your tips for disiphering if the "cleansing promises" on the packaging are true or if we should be cautious?
If the product contains laxatives, or states ‘may have a laxative effect’ on the label, presence of artificial sweetners, flavours or preservatives, excessive amounts of caffeine, and added sugars as well.