Loaded Teas … More like Load of Bull****
Do you know that fun little game that goes “Tell me your unpopular opinion” and everyone chimes in to say what their opinions are on non-controversial topics? Some opinions include: pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza, hot dogs are sandwiches, hot weather is better than cold weather, texting over calling, or the age-old debate on cilantro. These unpopular opinions are oftentimes hilariously witty and harmless.
This post is NOT like that.
This is a serious post for a pretty serious discussion about products that are potentially harmful to your health.
[Sidebar: The following is my opinion, albeit rooted in facts, and I am using resources available to the general public. Lastly, this is not doctoral advice.]
Let me spill the “Tea”
Loaded Teas are not as healthy as they tell you they are!
Social media, fitness influencers, and Instagram “nutritionists” all post pretty pictures with their beautifully colored drinks that all claim to be healthy for you. They go to “tea” shops that all have a very similar atmosphere, the same powders and supplements that make the pretty drinks, and owners that seem to be very passionate about nutrition.
The drinks all have names that almost make me want to drink them like “Rainbow Unicorn Snot,” “Rooty Tootie Fresh and Cutie” or simply “This Tea is on Fire.” But these teas are not true tea like we make with tea leaves or fresh fruit. Instead, they contain a blend of caffeine and herbal supplements. It is my opinion they should call them what they are: Energy Drinks. Loaded Teas often contain the same ingredients as energy drinks like caffeine, niacin, guarana, ginseng, taurine, inositol, and sometimes aloe. But, people may be more influenced by drinking tea that is marketed as healthy than the stigma associated with an energy drink.
Before we get into more of the nutrition aspect, I think it’s important to know the full story behind the tea shops. While they look like small businesses, they operate under the guise of Herbalife. Herbalife, if you remember, has been in some trouble in the past. They have been accused of being a pyramid scheme or MLM (multi-level marketing), but I’m not here to tell you if they are or aren’t. Here are the facts. When a shop (Nutrition Club) opens, they must follow all the rules outlined in their guide from Herbalife. In my opinion, some of these rules function as a way to keep the clubs mysterious and cryptic.
- To protect against those who might seek to counterfeit Herbalife products, Club operators are required to deface or destroy product labels and containers before disposing of empty containers.
- Because personal interaction supports direct selling, Clubs are not intended to attract “walk-in” traffic.
- Window and door coverings must be frosted or opaque, plain, and unbranded. Herbalife products, posters, materials, and images used inside the Club should not be visible from the exterior.
- A daily, weekly, or monthly membership fee may be charged to cover operational costs such as rent, utilities, etc.; these membership fees should not represent the price or cost of products that may be offered to members and their guests for consumption.
I’m not a business expert so maybe I’m wrong here, but I’ll let you form your own opinion after reading the rules and doing your research.
Nutrition Facts… or lack thereof
Because club owners can make up their own recipes, with a few Herbalife rules, there is no way of knowing the true nutrition facts of every one of the drinks. There is a potential list of ingredients on Herbalife’s website and some of their nutrition facts but, I want to see labels for every ingredient going into the teas at the shop.
I went to school for Nutritional Science but I am not a practicing licensed dietitian. I wanted you to have the straight facts on the subject of the nutrition of loaded teas so I’ll leave you with the following quote provided by my friend, colleague, and registered dietitian Rae Trahan.
“Considering supplements such as Herbalife don’t have to be regulated in order to be sold, there’s no way to know the ingredients that are being used. While the Herbalife website provides you with nutrition facts (such as carbs, protein, and fat) they do not provide you with a breakdown of and used ingredients. Because of this, you could be ingesting things such as preservatives, heavy metals, pesticides, etc. which can all lead to the risk of developing chronic disease. Not to mention the claim of their teas meeting the daily requirements of certain vitamins and minerals, however, these shakes and teas aren’t made with a single, fruit or vegetable so who’s to say if the vitamins provided are even bioavailable and being absorbed by your body. More than likely they’re being filtered out by your kidneys (and since they’re artificially made – damaging your kidneys) and being excreted in your urine leaving you now vitamin and mineral deficient. There are much better ways to lose weight and get into better shape. By eating REAL FOOD, incorporating daily movement, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep you can achieve any weight loss goal rather than depriving your body of essential nutrients to live.” Rae Trahan RDN, LDN Functional Health Coach
Should we be drinking the Kool-Aid … I mean “tea?”
Of course, as my disclaimer said in the beginning, this is not advice. Please talk to your doctor, go to a dietician who is licensed, and do your own research. Also, not all tea shops are Herbalife. Do your research there too. Ask questions! Ask to know their nutrition facts and if they aren’t forthcoming do not be afraid to find a place where they are.