BEIRUT: Over the past few years, the internet observed an immense rise of the “Instagram solution”, which is essentially fixing all your life's problems through a life hack or tidbit you saw advertised on the application.
A widely advertised product is detoxifying tea. Previously known as “slimming tea” and “diet tea”, it’s now referred to in a vaguer, more positive light, “detox tea” or “cleansing tea”.
This change in language painted it in a new light in the new age of fitness obsession and chasing online clout. While dietary tea isn’t a new concept, it rose in prominence the past few years. It’s advertised by countless celebrities and models, with millions of followers, through multiple manufacturers.
Most of these products have similar ingredients; ginger, lemon juice, green tea, oolong, guarana, garcinia cambogia extract, etc. While all of these ingredients are natural, they could still be harmful in some doses.
A common misconception is that if something is herbal and natural, then it’s healthy, and one hopes that it is. But, in reality, an ingredient like garcinia, while natural, is a weight loss supplement and appetite suppressant.
It’s important to note the odious side effects it can have on consumers. According to Healthline, a health information and resource medical website company, detox teas may cause Diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, rising blood sugar, dehydration, and more.
“The only weight one would lose is water weight from going to the bathroom more than usual. Even then, you’d gain the weight back very easily,” Shaden Shaaban, licensed dietician, told Annahar, “Losing all this water weight could help in cleansing your body from toxins, but there’s a big risk of dehydration.”
The truth about these teas is that…they’re laxatives. The herbs help the fibers work better, which “helps things move along,” Shaaban said, but invigorating your bathroom schedule isn’t healthy either.
Shaaban finds that the only way cleansing tea could be beneficial is if consumed alongside a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise. She stated that regular green or cinnamon tea would be enough to rid our body of unwanted toxins and that she wouldn't recommend “Instagram tea” to any of her patients, especially patients with diabetes or any blood-sugar or heart-related diseases.
A particularly dangerous thing about this tea is that it makes the consumer feel full even if their body is hungry. The tea is supposed to be drunk in the morning with or without breakfast, thus you’d lose your appetite for the day.
“You might feel the need to binge eat in the evening then purge everything afterward, which is extremely bad for your body,” Shaaban explained. This is how an eating disorder forms; you wouldn’t get the desired outcome from the tea, so you’d stop eating or eat very irregularly.
Bulimic and anorexic habits would shape and it would take a toll on you, physically and mentally. This is especially harmful to those who are ingesting the tea with the sole purpose of losing weight and so would stop at nothing to achieve their goal.
Teenage girls with self-esteem issues are most prone to being victims of these laxatives. The tea is mainly advertised towards them and is feeding off their body image issues and disorders in the most predatory way.
Instagram influencers need to be held accountable for the products they advertise. Their audience is mainly young girls and these companies prey on their low self-esteem. We must raise awareness against these sponsored posts and about the actual right way of going healthy, which is definitely not “ingest an ungodly amount of laxatives and wait.”
Karine Ballout, 18, is a media studies major at AUB.
Annahar English has officially launched a teen-writing section entitled Gen. Z Voices and invites all students, ages 14 to 18, to submit essays, school-oriented news articles, life commentaries and more. No school assignments or poetry please, thnx. Tell the readers about what is on your minds. Submit articles to Gen Z Editor Chiri Choukeir, Chirichoukeiryo@gmail.com
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