Influencer around the globe have been promoting ways of getting rid of a tummy by using green tea and in as much as it seems like it is the fastest and cheapest way to do it, there are side effects and dangers to consuming it. Let’s find out more. Flat tummy tea is a detox diet program featuring loose-leaf herbal teas that you drink in the morning and evening.
The program features two teas—Activate, which is promoted as a de-bloat tea, and Cleanse, which is promoted as a detox tea. Each tea contains a blend of herbs and spices that the company claims will “boost energy, speed metabolism, and reduce bloating” and help “get that tummy back to flat.”1
But, the claims about these tea blends have not been tested or proven by any clinical trials. Further, these teas are not regulated, and some herbal ingredients may be dangerous if used incorrectly. Here is what you need to know about flat tummy tea and its risks as well as some alternatives you can try.
What is Flat Tummy Tea?
There are two teas in the flat tummy tea program. Activate tea is promoted as being made with natural ingredients that the company claims can help support your metabolism and digestion. It also contains peppermint, lemon balm, licorice root, dandelion, cleavers, fennel seeds, green tea, caraway seeds, and cardamom.1
Cleanse tea is similarly marketed by the company as being made with traditional herbs. In this case, the herbs are supposed to support the body’s natural detoxification process and help reduce bloating for a flatter appearing tummy. Cleanse tea contains senna, peppermint, cassia chamaecrista, licorice root, caraway seeds, dandelion, and rhubarb root.
Many of these ingredients have been used in herbal medicine for years, but this combination of flat tummy tea ingredients has not been clinically tested for efficacy or safety. It is important to talk to a healthcare provider before using any of these teas.
How Do I Change My Metabolism?
Dosage and Preparation
Flat tummy tea is a 4-week program. The plan calls for drinking one cup of Activate tea in the morning with breakfast. It’s made by adding 1 teaspoon of loose-leaf tea to a tea strainer, and steeping it in hot water for 5 to 7 minutes.
Cleanse tea is consumed in the evening. For the first week, it is consumed every other night before bed. For the following 3 weeks, it’s consumed every third night. It’s made by placing 1 teaspoon of tea into a tea strainer and infusing it in a cup of hot water for 3 to 5 minutes.
The program also encourages following a balanced diet and getting enough exercise. In the website’s frequently asked questions section, the creators recommend a nutritious diet or exercise to see results.2 They also state that the tea won’t do much if you don’t eat right and exercise.
Individually, some of the ingredients found in flat leaf tea have been studied for medicinal effects. These studies test a specific dose of individual herbs and spices to see if they produce a desired effect.
Medicinal Effects of Specific Ingredients
Lemon balm leaf may help improve sleep quality and decrease anxiety, which may provide more overall energy.3
Fennel may help relieve bloating, heartburn, and other digestive issues.
Green tea may help with digestive health and improved mental alertness.
Caraway may help with weight control.
Senna is has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an over-the-counter laxative.
Rhubarb acts as a diuretic and laxative.
Licorice is used for digestive problems.
But the blend in flat tummy tea hasn’t been tested as a combined product. What’s more, neither the company’s website nor the product package specifies how much of each herb or spice is present in the final tea blends. It’s impossible to say if the ingredients may have any medicinal or clinical effects, or if they come with any particular risks.
Other ingredients have historical use as healing herbs, but are not supported by clinical studies. For example, dandelion is promoted as a diuretic, though little is known about its safety profile or actual health effects.
Potential Health Risks
Some of the herbs and spices found in flat tummy tea have been studied for years. In those studies, a specific dose is tested on a specific health outcome, and risk is also analysed. Because the amount of each individual herb in flat tummy tea is not disclosed, it is impossible to predict risk based on dosage.
For instance, studies show that licorice root can elevate sodium levels, decrease potassium levels, and mess with blood pressure when it’s consumed in high doses over a long period of time.11 Using high doses of senna or taking it for more than 2 weeks is not recommended since it can potentially lead to heart function issues, weak muscles, liver damage, and more. And, rhubarb is not recommended for people with gout, rheumatism, epilepsy, or a history of kidney or gall bladder stones. Because the amount of these ingredients used in flat tummy tea is not disclosed, it’s impossible to know how much is safe to drink, or how long it’s safe to continue drinking it. The tea also is not regulated and there is no third-party testing for safety.
Laxatives and Diuretics
Several of the ingredients in flat tummy tea have diuretic or laxative effects, which means they make you pee and poop more often. This fact poses risks related to dehydration and malnutrition.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) explains that laxatives are not a good weight control method, with laxative abuse potentially leading to major health issues, possibly even death, due to a loss in water, electrolytes and minerals.12
Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and magnesium are present in the human body in very specific amounts to facilitate the proper functioning of the nerves and muscles, including those of the colon and heart.12 An imbalance can be harmful.
While some of the ingredients in flat tummy tea may have potential health benefits, there may also be some risks. It is also unclear how much of each ingredient is in the tea, so it’s impossible to know how much is safe to drink.8