Nutrition and Diet

A fad diet is a diet which has become popular for a time, because it may promise rapid weight loss or promote specific health advantages. For years, we’ve seen an influx in marketing these diets. Examples include the Paleo, Keto, and South Beach diets; which all promote some kind of health benefits that appeal to people’s wants. More recently, over the past few years, the ‘tea detox’ trend has gone into full swing. It seems that out of nowhere, it flooded social media as well as gained support and sponsors from multiple social media influencers, specifically the SkinnyFit Tea brand.

With rising popularity of this new ‘diet’, it’s worth wondering of this trend is popular because it brings forth real results or if it’s become popular because of the social media culture. To find out if this SkinnyFit weight loss trend actually works, we will look at some ingredients and how they affect the body’s metabolism and if any of the ingredients cause weight loss.

The brand SkinnyFit, has a various selection of detox and weight loss teas. Though they are all popular, we are to focus on the SkinnyFit Detox Energizing Tea Blend. From their official web page, the benefits of this specific tea include increase metabolism, reduce bloating, increase energy, detoxify the body naturally, and boost immunity. The tea ingredients include thirteen ‘superfoods’ which happens to be matcha green tea, yerba mate, sencha green tea, oolong tea, goji berries, milk thistle, ginseng, lemongrass, nettle leaf, dandelion leaf, guarana, stevia leaf, and peach powder.

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Some of these ingredients pose liable health benefits.

An example of this is ginseng, which was used to treat diabetes . Though ginseng was used for the treatment of diabetes and being used to treat various other ailments, the article reveals that scientists have no confirmation that any of these claims are true. Ara DerMarderosian, scientific director of the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Institute at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia claimed that “There have been a lot of studies, but it’s very difficult to nail down what ginseng is actually good for,” therefore, the effects of ginseng based off of historical claims should be taken lightly. However, recent studies may give better insight into ginseng’s effect on the human body.

In the study conducted in this article, scientists deconstructed the plant isolated more than thirty chemicals that are called ginsenosides. These ginsenosides stimulate and suppress the central nervous system, strengthen the immune system, and improve circulation through the body. These effects overall affect the body in a positive way, but the ginsenosides also contain vitamins, minerals, and other active ingredients. Though the researchers present a problem, stating that it is “hard to be certain of just what’s doing what,alone or in concert,” meaning, that it is difficult to know if the effects are caused by the herb itself, or the combination of the active ingredients all together.

There are many varieties of ginseng; such as White ginseng, Red ginseng, and Woods-grown American ginseng . However, ginseng varieties are categorized into two main types, Asian or Korean ginseng and American ginseng; as well as Siberian ginseng. In the article ‘Getting To the Root of Ginseng’, the authors state that most clinical trials that are done use Korean/Asian ginseng or Siberian ginseng but health food store products may include and of the three types mentioned earlier; including any part of the plant such as the stem, roots, or leaves. The article continues to say that researchers from the University of Illinois found that “most clinical studies assessing ginseng and physical performance have been small, poorly conducted, and lacking in proper controls” and that well run studies found that ginseng failed to produce significant differences in energy metabolism and/or endurance.

The article goes on to say that despite the evidence that ginseng may not affect metabolism, recent studies have shown that ginseng may stimulate the secretion of insulin in the body. University of Toronto found that researchers reported that non-insulin dependent diabetics who ingested American ginseng before or during a high glucose meal had lower blood sugar levels than those who took a placebo . The researchers have yet to find which component of ginseng is responsible for lowering blood sugar and they are not certain which form of ginseng is the most effective, how it will interact with other drugs or supplements, and how much a diabetic person should take on the herb. So, even though ginseng may help in the aid of diabetes, there is no link between ginseng and weight loss.

Another ingredient found in the Skinny Fit Detox Energizing Tea Blend is yerba mate. Yerba mate is an herb commonly found in South America and is described as the “tea of the gods” as described by the official SkinnyFit website . In the article ‘Physiological and dynamic sensory characterization of a Yerba mate/Blackcurrant instant beverage powder rich in natural antioxidants’, researchers found that yerba mate and blackcurrant beverage mixture had a good physical, biochemical, and microbiological stability under high conditions and that it possessed anti-radical activity, which stimulated the gastrointestinal digestion.

The study conducted found that yerba mate has a high content of polyphenols and flavonoids along with antioxidant and hepato-protective properties and that is had the capacity to improve the cardiovascular system and central nervous system. Other findings from the study include yerba mate infusions across Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina showing significant yerba mate antioxidant, antibacterial, and antitumor activity.

A separate study done on the effects yerba mate has on appetite and obesity found that yerba mate extract alleviates weight gain and “reduction in preadipocyte differentiation, decrease in adipocyte lipid accumulation, a decrease in food intake, a decrease in body weight, reductions in serum cholesterol, serum triglycerides, and blood glucose concentrations, reduction in insulin and leptin levels and adipogenesis gene regulation”. In the same study, studies conducted on animals found that yerba mate extracts are rich in polyphenols, xanthines, purine alkaloids, and flavonoids, which alleviated weight gain and improved plasma glucose and lipid profiles in animals. This had a big impact of both animals and humans when in came to obesity and insulin resistance.

Milk thistle, also known as silibinin, is an annual or biennial plant that contains bioflavonoids called silymarin which is made from the seeds of milk thistle . Silibinin targets pro-inflammatory markers and reduces lipogenesis . The study that was conducted in the article ‘Silibinin Reduces the impact of Obesity on Invasive Liver Cancer’ claimed that silibinin has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory and anti-tumorigenic properties. The study includes that the results show silibinin suppresses tumor-promoting physiological characteristics of obesity as well.

Oolong tea has traditionally believed to be used for weight loss. In the article ‘Anti-obesity action of Oolong tea’ it was concluded that oolong tea prevented obesity and fatty liver induced by a high fat diet. This was concluded by studying the effects of feeding mice high and low fat diets and observing the effects when given oolong tea. The study found that “the anti-obesity effects of oolong tea in high-fat diet treated mice might be due partly to the enhancing effect of caffeine isolated from oolong tea on non-adrenaline induced lipolysis in adipose tissue, and to the inhibiting action of some other substance in oolong tea on pancreatic lipase activity”, meaning that caffeine may be a contributing factor to the weight loss that was observed. Results taken from this study suggest that oolong tea may be an effective drug for the treatment of obesity .

As stated earlier, this SkinnyFit Detox Energizing Tea Blend can be seen as another fad diet. It can also be seen as a tea detox, or a teatox. Though tea detox and tea diets are often praised and are believed to be healthy, they can pose possible health risks. The best way to lose fat at a healthy rate is to eat healthy and exercise regularly. When drinking these teas, as a solution to weight loss but not also exercising or eating healthier, the results could be not as desirable as the consumer may have been hoping. An article from Lifespan, explains that you don’t have a real need to detox because your body already has a natural way of getting rid of toxins .

An example is when your kidneys filter water and soluble liquid to become urine and exit the body, getting rid of toxins. Also, there are no clinical studies proving that tea detoxes are a good weight loss solution. An article written by Healthline states that “Most detox teas are sold with instructions for diet and exercise during what could be a “cleansing” period of a week or more. These instructions may recommend healthy eating, or eating very little”, suggesting that a tea detox is supposed to be accompanied with a healthy diet and consistent exercise if you are to achieve the desired outcome .

When looking at the official SkinnFit website, it is easy to see that the health claims are vague and though the ingredients effects and make up are prevent or believed to be correct; it is hard to take the health claim as meaningful. The ingredients used, but not all, could cause the claimed health benefits because the studies I found on oolong tea and yerba mate showed significant effects on weight loss. The claim made by the company implies that there is scientific data and studies to back it up but from what I can find there is no scientific data stating that the SkinnyFit Detox Energizing Tea Blend actually works.

Even though I could find no scientific data or studies regarding the effects of the SkinnyFit Detox Energizing Tea Blend, an article written by Bright Futures for Families, it is written that “-if there’s any result, it’s probably going to be due to the combination of the lifestyle change, not because of drinking the tea” and that “A healthy, balanced diet combined with daily exercise is currently the best (and safest) solution science has to offer”. Thus, a tea detox can help cleanse your body of toxins, but it is not a miracle solution to weight loss. The only way to achieve weight loss is to adopt a healthy lifestyle and commit to making the change. Based on the claims alone, I would not buy this product due to the lack of scientific evidence showing that this product actually works and because I know that the only way ‘healthy’ and safe way to lose weight is to exercise regularly and eat healthier meals.

Whether it’s tea detoxes or a new juice fasting; fad diets will always be an ongoing trend. The rumor of a new ‘miracle supplement’ or revolutionized diet seems to be constant in today’s mainstream media, whether it’s browsing through social media or seeing an ad online. As we have learned, when it comes to any diet, the only way to lose weight in a healthy and safe manner is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. The consumption of the SkinnyFit Detox Energizing Tea Blend, is no exception.

The claims say one thing, but the lack of scientific evidence and research I have been unable to find make me think otherwise. The lack of evidence may be reason enough to not buy the product, but for those who are curious and want to try it, I implore them to do their own research and not rely on the tea blend alone but to implement daily exercise and healthier meals into their daily lives. If we’ve learned anything, just because something is claimed to be healthy, it doesn’t mean that it is.

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Nutrition and Diet. (2019, Nov 27). Retrieved from

Nutrition and Diet
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