Starting the path toward a healthier lifestyle can be confusing, but most health experts agree it doesn’t start with a sip of weight loss tea.

It doesn’t take but a few scrolls on Instagram to find a social media personality advertising Flat Tummy Tea, SkinnyMint or Bootea products. The appeal is in the promise of a “thin” or healthy lifestyle. When making lifestyle changes to lose weight, it would be wise to avoid these products.

Justine Magallanez, dining services assistant director and registered dietitian nutritionist, said most people’s bodies naturally detox themselves through perspiration and urination. Unless you have a rare condition, supplemental detox products are not necessary.

Weight loss supplements often recommend pairing the product with diet and exercise, which is where most of the weight loss comes from, Magallanez said.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, many popular “teatox” programs come in pairs. One blend for a daytime boost, which often contains caffeine, and the other for a night time “cleanse” with senna root or leaf. Senna is an FDA-approved laxative used to treat constipation.

A “natural” tea will rest easier on the conscience than a weight loss pill for many modern consumers, Magallanez said. This is because of changing attitudes toward chemical ingredients in food.

Registered dietitian Antonio Miranda said the natural labels often attached to these products act as a Trojan horse for companies trying to sell their weight loss supplements.

“People are confusing detoxing and equating it to future weight loss,” Miranda said.

The marketing strategy of modern supplement teas also heavily involves social media.

It’s important to remember that celebrities who promote dietary supplements on Instagram most likely earned their physiques via expensive diets and personal trainers, Miranda said.

Charlotte Markey, Rutgers University psychology professor, examines issues of media influence on body image in her research.

Individuals dissatisfied with their bodies are more susceptible to influence from social media. When looking into diet plans or products that offer quick solutions, it is best to assume they do not work, she said.

When scrolling through her timeline, kinesiology senior Kirsten Manns does not give attention to nutritional claims or products that sound too good to be true. This practice is recommended by Magallanez and Miranda.

“There’s no secret to nutrition and in weight loss, but everyone is looking for [it],” Miranda said. “You got to invest some part of your life to keeping yourself healthy.”

The ability to alter images is pretty accessible nowadays, meaning you never know what photos on Instagram are fake, Manns said.

“When it comes to body image, just know that it’s not real,”Manns said. “Don’t fall for the trap.”

The general public is often trying to find an easy shortcut to weight loss or a healthy lifestyle, but ultimately those are a choice, Magallanez said. Changes in diet or exercise will provide the best results.

@edmedeles

features-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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