Consumer Alert! Are Diet Teas Safe?

By Jim Banard

Diet tea has been consumed for many years by dieters. It is common to see private labeled diet tea products in grocery stores. Many believe diet tea is good for diets because it is less than 5 calories per serving, has caffeine that helps the body burn more calories, and has polyphenols which aid in the digestion of fat.

You may have seen dieting tea and not even realized it because of the different names it is packaged under such as: super dieters tea, weight loss tea, fasting tea, slimming tea, etc. Marketers have taken tea, like they have with diet pills, and used the message that all it takes is for you to drink this and you will lose weight. This is certainly what everyone wants but it is just not true. Tea is best used in combination with a diet and exercise. The danger than consumers face, especially in the light of this type of marketing, is that tea is a plant based laxative. Laxatives can cause serious help problems such as: diarrhea, faiting, cramps, and even death when drank in large amounts.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) once stressed that the laxative teas and dietary supplements of most concern are those containing one or more of the substances, such as aloe, senna, rhubarb root, buckthorn, castor oil, and cascara. These products are derived from plants and have been used since time immemorial for their ability to relieve constipation and promote bowel movements. They are deemed effective for such purposes with occasional use.

When the labeled Chinese diet teas are excessively used based on the misconception that frequent bowel movements prevent the absorption of calories that problems tend to occur. Numerous studies have shown that the laxative-induced diarrhea does not significantly reduce absorption of calories for the reason that laxatives do not work in the small intestine, where the calories are absorbed. It rather works on the colon, which is the lower end of the bowel.

Another thing that you should be aware of if you are a new tea drinker is how long you steep the tea for. You should not steep the tea for longer than the product label recommends. Doing so causes you to consume more than the recommended amount of laxatives. It basically is the same thing that happens when you drink more tea than the daily recommended amount.

If you are drinking too much diet tea you will experience stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. These usually last for a couple of days. Another troubling condition can develop called laxative dependency. In bad cases, these laxatives can cause dehydration and electrolyte disorders. The tea drinkers who are most likely to suffer from these problems are those who are also engaging in a weight-loss diet.

Under review is whether or not the FDA will make manufacturers place a warning label on all teas that contain the laxative plants mentioned above. This would be very helpful for new tea drinkers to learn the risks of drinking large amounts of tea. In addition, the recommended directions label should always be carefully followed. - 30540

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