I heard about a “Dieter’s Tea” that can help you lose weight. What is it and does it work?
You may not want to brew up an entire pot of this tea. These “dieter’s teas” are herbal teas containing plant-derived laxatives, such as senne, aloe, buckthorn, cascara, and castor oil. When consumed in excessive amounts they can cause diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps, chronic constipation, fainting, and potentially even death, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (Note: Several of these plant-derived laxatives, such as cascara, senna, and caster oil, are in over-the-counter laxatives and are regulated by the FDA as drugs.)
Some tea fans believe that because these stimulant laxatives increase bowel movements, they will block the absorption of calories and help in the battle of the bulge. Unfortunately, this is one theory that should be flushed down the you-know-what. A special FDA committee concluded, that since these laxatives work on the colon, rather than the small intestine where calories are absorbed in your body, the laxative-induced diarrhea does not significantly reduce the absorption of calories.
The FDA has reports indicating that consumers can experience adverse effects when they misuse these products, such as steeping the tea longer than recommended or drinking too much of it. These adverse effects range from stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea, lasting several days, to chronic diarrhea, dehydration, and electrolyte disorders. This could lead to blood potassium (an electrolyte in your body), and cause paralysis, irregular heartbeat, and possibly death, according to the FDA.
The FDA has proposed a warning statement for the label of such products to inform consumers about the risks and adverse effects. Presently, a warning statement by manufacturers is only voluntary.