Why weight loss tea is the biggest scam on Instagram

Weight-Loss Scams to Avoid
Weight-Loss Scams to Avoid

Another day, another perfectly lit photo of Kylie Jenner gets dropped on Instagram. But wait, what's the famously curvaceous 18-year-old looking down at in the backyard of her California mansion?

"Got my @SkinnyMintCom such a great natural detox tea program for this summer," Jenner's caption states. "I need to get healthy again! Who's joining me?" See? Looks like Jenner is finally revealing the secret behind her Pokémon-like evolution from normal person to alluring Instagram seductress. There is a reason she's famous!

Kylie Jenner weight loss tea on Instagram
Kylie Jenner weight loss tea on Instagram

Unfortunately, Jenner isn't sharing any groundbreaking Hollywood diet hacks — she likely isn't even drinking the tea she's clearly promoting for a company. She's not alone, however: As it turns out, those spammy pictures and captions that dozens of celebs share on Instagram aren't effective for many who have actually tried them. "We want to pick a little bone here with the fitness industry," Super Sister Fitness health bloggers Liz and Sarah said in a YouTube video. "Our No. 1 problem with the fitness industry is that it's all about selling you products, pills, potions, powders, teas now, like what is all this stuff? ... You don't need any of that, it's so silly. "And it's just trying to make a profit off of you really just not knowing and not being educated on whether or not those things are really effective." Of course, paying celebrities lump sums to post about weight loss products is a successful marketing tactic, as headlines will inevitably read: "So THIS Is How Kylie Jenner Stays So Skinny (PHOTO)."

But detox teas don't work because detoxing isn't real. At least, not the sort of detoxing advertising agencies want you to believe in. "Let's be clear," Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary medicine at Exeter University, told the Guardian, "there are two types of detox: one is respectable and the other isn't. The other is the word being hijacked by entrepreneurs, quacks and charlatans to sell a bogus treatment that allegedly detoxifies your body of toxins you're supposed to have accumulated."

Toxins don't simply build up in your body — everything consumed by a typically healthy body is constantly removed from the system, and if it's not, that could mean serious life-threatening complications for a person.

Detox teas like Lyfe tea, one that Jenner's oldest sister Kourtney Kardashian coincidentally promotes on her own Instagram, contain ingredients like senna leaves and pods, the superfood moringa and guarana. Unfortunately, none of these are proven to actually be healthy: Senna is alaxative that can cause stomach pain and diarrhea, moringa is considered a superfood — aka another marketing tactic used to trick people into consumption — and guarana is known to raise blood pressure, with zero known effects on weight loss.

"The healthy body has kidneys, a liver, skin, even lungs that are detoxifying as we speak," Ernst told the Guardian. "There is no known way — certainly not through detox treatments — to make something that works perfectly well in a healthy body work better."

Kourtney Kardashian detox tea on Instagram
Kourtney Kardashian detox tea on Instagram

Detox dietary supplements further promote a rejection-diet mentality, in which dieters are more likely to shy away from certain foods rather than focusing on implementing new, nutrient-rich foods into their daily meals. "Long-term fasts lead to muscle breakdown and a shortage of many needed nutrients," American Dietetic Association spokesperson Lona Sandon told NBC News. Furthermore, the dietician said removing necessary nutrients and minerals from food may "actually weaken the body's ability to fight infections and inflammation." Instead of detoxing, anyone trying to get in peak physical health should include things like greens, lean meats and other nutrient-rich foods into their diets. Harvard University School of Public Health's Healthy Eating Plate provides a realistic diet for just about anyone, and when paired with daily exercise and activity, can certainly help weight loss results and other health goals. Or, you can take your health advice from King Kylie — your choice.

To get in shape the good old fashioned way, shop our favorite weight loss products below:

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