So much furor surrounding the word 'diet' these past few years. And to go with it--the countless products for a detox diet and dieting. Diet tea being one such product that has not only gained much popularity, but has also been touted as the solution to all things pudgy. There are varied kinds of diet teas that are made from varied ingredients, and while each of these boast of the miraculous effects that the daily intake of the same can lead to, there is a need to understand that there could be side effects involved as well. What are these, and how severe can they be? Let us understand the same in the following sections.
Overdosing on Diet Teas
Diet teas, if taken in moderation or if taken in accordance to the daily suggested intake, may not be harmful to the body and health; but if one overdoses on these, or they are taken as a substitute for proper meals, and not simply as a supplement, a number of ill effects that range from mild and immediate to advanced and critical may be experienced.
The ingredients that are used in these specialized diet teas include aloe, senna, cascara, locust plant, rhubarb root, buckthorn, and other plant-derived laxatives. These laxative properties will induce loose motions--thus causing a loss of fluids from the body. Sometimes they may even lead to the curbing of one's diet, which in combination with the laxative properties will lead to the loss of water weight, and give one the feeling of having undergone weight loss.
When these ingredients are consumed in excess they can cause severe diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, stomach cramps, fainting and chronic constipation. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also reported of deaths due to these diet teas (which has acted as a contributing factor).
Consumers of diet tea are under the impression that increased bowel movements (brought on due to the laxative properties) will help weight loss by preventing the absorption of calories. However, this is not seen to happen. The diarrhea that is brought on will not help reduce the absorption of calories, because these laxatives do not work on the small intestine where the calorie absorption takes place, but rather on the colon which is at the lower end of the bowel.
Common Practices of Diet Tea Companies
Most of these plant-derived laxatives are used in their natural form as well as in smaller quantities as flavorings. The FDA requires that the manufacturers list out these ingredients with their scientific, as well as common names on all their products. However, these products are not labeled as being laxative in nature-they may be promoted as being a 'natural bowel cleanser' instead. Or these products might not be promoted specifically for the purposes of weight loss--they might, however, make use of words like 'slimming', 'diet' or 'low-calorie' etc on the labeling.
People are therefore sold on the idea of buying these for the weight loss. This practice in itself may be misleading because the teas provide only the flavoring, and no nutrients or calories unless they are sweetened. With the body receiving no nutrients, and losing water weight, a person can become weak, leading to the emergence of several deficiencies in the body. This is especially dangerous for people who have been diagnosed with disorders like bulimia or anorexia nervosa.
Adverse Effects of Consuming Diet Tea
The FDA has not received any reports that speak of any hazards to health that are brought on when these teas are consumed in the recommended amounts. However, anything otherwise--like consuming these in excess or more than the recommended amount, steeping the tea bag in for longer than specified, or using them as a substitute for food, and it could lead to certain side effects that could range over the short term to severe.
First time users who drink more than the recommended amount could end up experiencing one or more of these effects:
- Stomach cramps
These effects come about when a person has been using these products for many years. They could cause chronic diarrhea, constipation and pain which comes about because of laxative dependency. All of this leads to a sluggish bowel. It could also affect the functioning of the colon, and as per a case reported to the FDA, a man who had been using these products for decades had to undergo a surgery and have his colon removed.
In its most severe form, these products could lead to dehydration, fainting spells, and electrolyte disorders. For example, it could bring on low blood potassium (a condition that could cause irregular heartbeat, paralysis and in rare cases even death.)
It has been found that people who are affected with the most severe forms are usually those who have compromised on a healthy food intake, and those who have developed eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
It is therefore advised that these products be used only after reading through the ingredients properly. Along with that, it is advised that the dosage should not exceed the recommended amount, and the proper instructions be followed before consuming the same. It is also advised that pregnant women do not use this product as it can lead to complications in pregnancy, as well as affect the health of the unborn child.
It is required that you're completely aware of the side effects that diet tea can lead to if taken in excess and over the recommended amount. But the solution presents itself well enough--control the intake for one, and two, there are always better, more healthier options in both weight loss and beverages. So choose wisely and live well.