Is Tea Your Solution to Weight Loss?

As slimness is depicted as the ideal in most Asian countries, the idea of being skinny has preyed on many people’s mind. Apart from dieting and exercising in hopes to shed some pound, a lot of people reach out to dietary supplements like “teatoxes”.

Teatox is short for tea detox. Most teatoxes in the market claims to be a 100% natural health supplement that promotes active, healthy and balanced lifestyles, along with aiding weight loss. This miracle tea sounds like the optimum solution for people that are overly obsessed with the idea of losing weight.

In recent years, teatoxing has been increasingly popular amongst young women as weight loss teas can be easily consumed and attained.

In Hong Kong, teatox products could be found in Sasa, Watsons, Mannings, and various local pharmacies. Though the variety of teas available in a mere pharmacy is truly overwhelming, they all strive to promote good health and wellbeing among customers.

Salesperson explains teatox products to interested customer. (Photo by Yukki Leung)

“Every day, at least 20 customers would come in and ask us about teatoxing, which is a decent number of customers when compared to the past,” says Winki Ma, a saleswoman working in Watsons.

“Most customers don’t even care what the tea contains, all they care about is whether the tea could help them lose weight.” She then added, “Because of the increasing number of people purchasing weight loss teas, more and more companies are interested in this industry and are gradually expanding to the teatox market through stores like us.”

The popularity of teatox as a cleanse may have even replaced green juices. While greens are essential for green juices, Chinese oolong tea is normally the essential ingredient for teatoxes.

Lily Ho, a long-term teatox consumer said, “The reason I like to do teatoxes is that I think the tea can help reduce bloating and improve my constipation problem.” The 26-year-old then went on to say, “This is also a really popular tea among Hong Kong female celebrities to stay scraggy.”

Different teatoxes may have different results, such as performing detoxification through improving irregular bowel movement, help toning and reduce lipids through boosting your metabolism, help improve skin complexion and ease breakouts when long-term commitments are made. Some even deliberately claim to perform all the effects mentioned.

Dr. William Chen, a local doctor trained in Chinese medicine, operating in Whampoa, suggested that some teatox might indeed be effective in aiding weight-loss. Nevertheless, it is all about finding a balance, people can’t just eat junk food and drink soft drinks all day and expect to get into shape solely by adding a few tea bags into their daily diet.

“Teatox will work for the reason that tea, like oolong tea itself, is healthy and effective in increasing your bowel moments, but there is always an adverse effect,” said Chen.

Most teatoxes claims that the consumption of their products will bring no harm to the human body. Such claims, however, can be misleading. Just because a product does not contain any chemicals or preservatives, it does not necessarily mean that it is safe.

“The mixture of inappropriate herbs may cause poisoning and this can lead to damages to people’s digestive system,” said Chen. While oolong is commonly known as good to one’s health, the combination of oolong with some other Chinese herbs may create an unknown adverse effect, therefore the consumption of just oolong tea may be the healthier option for the body and mind,”

Chen then further pointed out that some teatoxes may contain natural Chinese herbs that work as laxatives in which consumers are possibly unaware of. “Laxatives increases your visits to the toilet, which will literally cleanse and detoxify you, hence people should be very cautious before making a purchase. It is vital to avoid products containing any purgatives such as senna leaves and rhubarb root,” Chen explained.

“Overuse of laxatives can cause innumerable serious health problems to your body, one would be diarrhea and impairing your abdomen permanently,” Chen said. “Not to frighten you or anything, I just want people to know that these risks are not worth taking.”

Indeed, teatoxing may allow people to feel better about their bodies, but anything too excessive would be causing more harm than good to the human body.

“The most crucial thing is to maintain a healthy mindset, sleep earlier, eat healthily and exercise regularly.”

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