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About Chinese Diet Teas: Are They Safe?

Chinese teas have long been considered great for dieters. In fact, many companies have manufactured and distributed these products labeled “Chinese diet tea” for those who wish to lose weight. Perhaps the main reason for this production is that many believed that tea by itself carries only 4 calories per serving, and the caffeine in tea is potent enough to increase body function to help burn more calories. Also, it is believed that the polyphenols in tea seem to aid in the digestion of fat, truly making it a Chinese diet tea. Chinese diet tea, fasting tea, slimming tea, super dieter’s tea, weight loss tea, although they come with somewhat different names, all promote a common message – drink this tea and you will lose weight. However, many experts noted that what you are actually drinking from these products is a plant based laxative that can cause certain disorders like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, fainting, chronic constipation and perhaps even death when consumed in excessive 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 don’t work in the small intestine, where the calories are absorbed.

It rather works on the colon, which is the lower end of the bowel. Also found out is that when the Chinese diet teas are misused by steeping the tea longer than product labeling recommends can lead to short as well as long term adverse condition. This is also true when the Chinese diet teas are taken more than the recommended amount. It has been noted that for those first-time users who drank Chinese diet teas more than the recommended amount, stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea are the common disorders to occur and will last for several days. When these laxatives are used continually, laxative dependency will tend to develop with bouts of chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain as well as constipation. In the most severe cases, these laxatives can cause fainting, dehydration and serious electrolyte disorders. As noted, these after-effects of excessive use of Chinese diet teas are most likely to develop in people who are nutritionally compromised due to rigorous weight-loss dieting. Because of these concerns, the FDA is now considering requiring the manufacturers of labeled “Chinese diet teas” to place warning labels on all of their product stimulant laxatives. It is also important that those who are using Chinese diet teas for any purpose must read and follow the recommended directions carefully. The words indicated on the label under “warning” must then be given attention.


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