Why laxative teas don’t work
A good ‘flush out’ doesn’t actually equate to weight loss – so why is it that so many weight loss teas are based on laxatives to do the job? Laxatives actually bulk up and swell the stool sitting in the intestine, which in turn irritates the bowel and starts the process of purging. The main reason this is a huge health issue and not useful for weight loss is that because less water is absorbed from the bowel which increases the amount of water actually in your stool. Used over a period of time can severely deplete body fluids and be damaging to the body.
Teas made with laxative ingredients undoubtedly give the intestines a clear out. However to think that stimulating the bowel can be useful in weight loss doesn’t actually make sense. Since digestion begins in your mouth, by the time your food has reached your bowels, it has been broken down and partially digested. By softening it in the later stages of the intestines is virtually useless as a weight loss technique since the process of digestion has been already in action. What’s more, using these kinds of teas long term are ineffective as they lead to dehydration. They will prevent the body from absorbing essential nutrients and over a period of time, you’ll end up eating more as your body goes into survival mode – that’s the worst kind of weight loss technique I’ve ever heard of!
From a Chinese Medicine perspective, when we take teas with laxative effects, we further weaken the spleen function. Other symptoms of a weak spleen lead to fatigue, stomach pain, emotional upset, dizziness and poor memory. A weak functioning spleen, will have trouble extracting nutrients from food which will eventually lead to severe overall depletion. For women, it creates a level of complexity around their menstrual cycle too.
Safe and effective weight loss that is correctly supported by maximizing the spleen function is far more effective. The results are long lasting as the body continues to be supported since adequate vitamins and minerals are being assimilated. When the body is nutritionally satisfied, we don’t crave foods and we eat less. This also comes back to eating the right foods (remember warm and cooked foods are best). Correct food combination, exercise, adequate fluid intake and your tea provide a wonderful weight loss formula.
Written by Dr. Nat Kringoudis TCM.