Jameela Jamil is leading the charge against so called ‘detox’ and ‘skinny’ teas, now she’s petitioning the UK government to ban the celebrity promotion of them on social media. With the backing of real doctors and studies cited it’s hard to argue that multi millionaire celebrities making a few extra dollars is worth the side effect on the physical and mental health of her following. Considering a tea detox? Looking for a quick weight fix? Never even hear of them? Find out why you really shouldn’t be putting these anywhere near your body:
The claims of what these teas can do differ somewhat between brands to increase their market from boosting metabolising, detoxifying the body, increasing energy levels or losing weight. However, for almost all of these teas contain the active ingredient ‘Senna’, which you might recognise from the back of your mum’s medicine chest as a constipation cure all. So, lets get into what these teas actually are: laxatives. Because these teas are labelled as ‘dietary supplements’ and not medication, they aren’t required to prove or have any evidence for these claims, lucky for these brands because there is none.
“Using laxatives is one of the major factors of binge/purge eating disorders, this doesn’t change because you package them in a pretty box and get a Kylie Jenner to sell them”
What is proven about these teas however is that if you use them for more than two weeks, as most of the plans suggest, they can almost certain cause unusual bowel functions and changes in electrolyte balance that can lead to heart issues, muscle weakness and liver damage, not to mention your intestines will become dependent on it and then you will become constipated if you stop using it- it’s a vicious cycle to keep you buying more and more because the plant extract is only intended for short term constipation relief. Using laxatives is one of the major factors of binge/purge eating disorders, this doesn’t change because you package them in a pretty box and get a Kylie Jenner to sell them.
Okay but, does it work? Short answer: no. Long answer: hell no. For one laxatives effect body waste AFTER all its nutrients/carbs/fats have been absorbed by the body and is already in the intensities waiting to be evacuated. Laxatives simply help the intestines to absorb more water. Any weight lost will be from temporarily lost water weight, i.e., just from bloating and un-bloating. Remember the Calteen bars in Mean Girls? ‘this is all your water weight first you bloat and then you drop 10 pounds like that’ well there’s as much science behind these claims as there was in Cady’s deception, don’t be a Regina George.
“there’s as much science behind these claims as there was in Cady’s deception, don’t be a Regina George”
Upon searching for them online nothing negative comes up unless you explicitly search for it. Pages after pages show top 10 teas or best celebrity endorsements. It’s part of the absolutely toxic culture that tells women that they are not good enough unless they look a certain way and then offer them ‘quick fixes’ that do nothing at all but harm. Most terrifying perhaps is the way these detox teas are marketed- through social media influencers and aimed at younger people. Your favourite celebrity offers you an easy way to look like them with a few small payments- it seems too good to be true. Because it is. It’s these celebrities jobs to look good. They have top nutritionists, personal trainers, plastic surgery and most of all, Photoshop/FaceTune not to mention the time and money to do it all. But we rarely get to peep behind the curtain and the brutal regimes they upkeep to maintain how they look, apart from the occasional gym videos. They absolutely do not use these products. They’re selling lies and unobtainable ‘thinspo’ culture, and we buy into it without realising because its so ingrained in to us from ‘beach bodies’ to ‘dress for your shape’ to food ‘syns’. Once you start to unpack it you cant stop seeing it everywhere, women especially are constantly given flaws to fix to fit an ideal that hardly exists. These narrow parameters of beauty apply to less 1% of the population with the right lighting, photo editing and access to devoting their lives to creating this image, not to mention the white supremacy in these ‘desirable’ features that is rarely questioned. This takes up so much of our thinking, either conscious or subconsciously, that we can unknowingly let how we look, or feel we look, dictate how we feel or what we do.
“how long will we spend chasing happiness in thinness”
How much time do we waste trying to fit this tiny space for beauty that we, in reality, never will? Are we supposed to be 80 years old and trying to lose that last two pounds? How long will we spend chasing happiness in thinness as if everything will change for us like a movie make-over scene. When we’re thin we’ll finally be successful, outgoing, fashionable, popular, beautiful, happy. ENOUGH. Be all those things as you are.
It is of course, not that easy to change the attitudes that are ingrained into you. But there’s a few things you can do to start making it a little easier:
Unfollow the accounts that promote these products. It’s the best way to show them and their managers that nobody wants this content. I’ve recently had to unfollow basically all of the Kardashians, possibly the first people I ever followed on Instagram and spent so long idolising, to uphold this rule. But it feels good. My online feeds now have increasingly become places for body positivity. I never come away from a scroll feeling worse about myself or thinking I need to ‘fix’ some part of myself. Some great places to start are @bodyposipanda, @JameelaJamil and @I_weigh to bring a bit more positivity to your feeds and drawing attention to attitudes we should question.
Think critically when anything makes you feel less than, from adverts to friends and see what you can do about it. It’s rare that your friends explicitly state negatives on your body, (you really need better friends if they do!), but everyone has been brought up in this culture and much of it is subconscious that they might not even realise. Whether its about themselves or somebody they don’t like on a personal level stop and question their body negative behaviour without being confrontational and refuse to support body shame of anyone else. Hopefully you can help them begin to question their own attitudes.
Most of all accept that all this is a learning process and each day you work on it, it will get easier. So much is better than ‘skinny feels’.
If you’ve been affected by any of the issues discussed do not hesitate to get in contact with the Wellbeing Centre, BEAT or Student Minds Support Group for Eating Difficulties.