Weight loss teas have become increasingly common as a way to quickly and easily lose weight.
One of these products, Iaso Tea, claims to support instant weight loss through intestinal cleansing.
Some customers report impressive results, but how valid are these reviews?
Here, we compare Iaso Tea’s promises to scientific evidence to see if the product is as good as it claims.
What is Iaso Tea?
Iaso Tea is an herbal tea created from a blend of nine different herbs, spices and fruits, including:
- Blessed thistle
- Holy thistle
- Persimmon leaves
- Malva leaves
- Marshmallow leaves
The tea is produced by the US marketing company Total Life Changes, and is only available to purchase online via their website or Amazon.
The multi-level marketing company sells a variety of health, wellness and beauty supplements and encourages customers to become “Independent Business Owners” by distributing the products themselves.
Their mission is to produce high-quality, all-natural products that offer immediate results and sustained wellness.
The tea is prepared by adding two teabags to one quart (1.14 L) of boiling water and leaving it to brew for at least four hours. Afterward, three quarts (3.4 L) of cold water are added and the tea is refrigerated.
This produces four quarts (4.5 L) of the tea, which provides approximately a week’s worth of recommended servings. The makers of the tea recommend drinking two 8 oz (236 ml) glasses per day.
Iaso Tea can be purchased in a $50 package, which contains five sachets of tea. Each sachet provides a week’s worth of servings, so a full package will last you about five weeks. This equates to approximately $0.71 per glass.
The makers of Iaso Tea claim that their unique blend aids in weight loss and detoxification of the intestines. They guarantee measurable weight loss within five days.
Summary: Iaso Tea is a weight loss tea created from a blend of nine herbs. The tea is produced by the US marketing company Total Life Changes, who encourage customers to distribute their product. It can only be purchased on their website and costs around $0.71 per glass.
How Do Weight Loss Teas Work?
There are countless weight loss teas on the market, all claiming to provide quick and easy weight loss results.
Drinking low-calorie fluids like tea is a good way to increase your fluid consumption, which is important for a healthy lifestyle and may help with reducing your overall caloric intake (1).
However, these benefits are likely to be offset by the unpleasant side effects associated with weight loss teas, which usually contain diuretics or laxatives.
The long-term use of diuretics and laxatives can be dangerous, resulting in dehydration, stomach pains, diarrhea, electrolyte imbalance (levels of crucial minerals in the body), and reliance on laxatives to open your bowels.
Weight loss teas can result in a small, short-term weight loss due to them containing laxatives and diuretics, but this will only be water weight. This may make you feel as though you’ve lost a few pounds, and the scale may confirm that, but this is not the same as fat loss.
Losing fat is only achievable through maintaining a negative energy balance. This means you need to eat fewer calories (energy) per day than the amount of energy your body uses through daily living and exercise.
Some weight loss teas claim to induce weight loss due to ingredients like caffeine or green tea (neither of which are present in Iaso Tea) to boost the body’s “fat-burning” capabilities.
While caffeine has been shown to promote weight loss, the effect is very small and disappears after a short time as the body becomes accustomed to the increased presence of the stimulant (2, 3, 4).
Weight loss teas often come with a set diet and exercise plan, or at least advice to create a calorie deficit through diet and exercise (essentially eating less and moving more).
This is the only component of a weight loss tea regime that might result in any sustained weight loss. The tea itself is unlikely to support weight loss alone.
However, ordinary tea is a low-calorie beverage, making it a useful replacement for higher calorie beverages such as sodas when trying to lose weight.
You can buy tea and other low-calorie beverages from the supermarket—they come with the same low-calorie benefits, but without the hefty price tag.
Summary: Weight loss teas often contain diuretics or laxatives, which may result in a small amount of water weight loss, but not fat loss. Sustained weight loss requires a calorie deficit, which won’t be achieved by drinking Iaso Tea alone.
Iaso Tea Benefits
The sellers of Iaso Tea claim there are a wide range of benefits that come from drinking their tea.
We’ll examine each of Iaso Tea’s main claims below.
Measurable Weight Loss within Five Days
Users are told they can expect to drop as much as five pounds within five days.
This weight loss is unlikely to come from a loss of fat. Losing five pounds of body fat in five days would require a calorie deficit of approximately 3,500 calories every single day! This is outside the realms of possibility for most people, and certainly wouldn’t be achievable in a healthy way.
Instead, people drinking Iaso Tea are likely to experience a sudden loss of water weight due to the diuretic properties of blessed thistle, one of its ingredients.
So, while you might weigh slightly less, this doesn’t mean you’ve lost five pounds of fat.
Sustained Weight Loss with Continued Use
The makers of Iaso Tea don’t mention the need to use the tea alongside a calorie-controlled diet or exercise regime. Any sustained fat loss requires a calorie deficit.
With continual consumption of Iaso Tea, customers will have sustained exposure to diuretics.
This means their bodies will be continually flushing out excess water. However, when the user stops taking the tea, their body will return to retaining water at their normal rate, and any water weight lost will be quickly regained.
Iaso Tea also contains persimmon leaves, which is a natural laxative. Laxatives cause the bowels to open, and are typically used to treat constipation.
Some people mistakenly believe that using laxatives will prevent calorie absorption and weight gain. However, laxative abuse can lead to eating disorders and have detrimental effects on your health (5, 6)
There is some evidence that ginger, another ingredient in Iaso Tea, may help reduce body weight, but only by a very small amount, and not enough to significantly reduce body mass index (BMI) (7).
Plus, the tea doesn’t contain enough ginger for you to see a noticeable effect.
Detoxification of the Digestive System
Iaso Tea is said to “flush harmful toxins from the upper and lower intestines”.
In general, most of us come into contact with some toxins everyday. However, the human body has the ability to break down and remove these through our own in-built, sophisticated detoxification system – namely the liver, kidneys, and skin (8).
This system prevents accumulation of toxins, and if it were to stop functioning, the person would become ill very quickly.
There is no evidence to suggest that we require supplements to augment this system, and experts widely agree that supposed “detox” products are not effective (9).
The company also states that papaya and myrrh have gastric healing and antimicrobial properties.
Papaya extract has been shown to be an effective treatment for gastric ulcers, but only in rats (10, 11).
Meanwhile, myrrh is sometimes added to mouthwashes due to its supposed antimicrobial activity, but there’s a lack of scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness in humans. (12).
Improved Physical Energy and Mental Clarity
They also promise a boost in physical energy and mental clarity as a result of the supposed detoxification mentioned above.
If Iaso Tea was consumed alongside changes in nutrition and exercise habits, positive mental changes such as perceived energy and clarity may occur.
Studies have shown that people who eat healthy and exercise regularly are likely to report greater wellbeing and happiness. However, these potential benefits would not be due to drinking the tea alone (13).
Promotes Better Sleep
Iaso Tea contains chamomile, an herb that is believed by many to have sedating and sleep-aiding properties.
However, there is little clinical evidence to actually support these claims (14
If anything, sleep is likely to be interrupted by the diuretic effects of Iaso Tea!
Summary: Drinking Iaso Tea will not produce sustainable weight loss. Any health benefits experienced are probably due to other healthy habits such as drinking more fluids or following an exercise regimen rather than the tea itself. Most of the individual ingredients in Iaso Tea have also not been scientifically proven to lead to weight loss.
Iaso Tea Reviews
At first glance, online reviews for Iaso Tea appear to be mostly positive.
There are many videos, blog posts and online articles praising the tea and its results.
However, as Iaso Tea is a multi-level marketing product, many of the reviews are written by people who are also selling it, which means you have to look a little deeper to find unbiased commentary.
The Total Life Company website does not have a rating and review section for Iaso Tea at the point of purchase.
Other sites which have reviews of Iaso Tea are all very positive, but these sites contain links to buy the tea, so it’s important to be wary of the credibility of the source.
On Amazon, reviews are mixed: 56% of customers gave the tea a four or five star review, while 35% gave it only a one or two star review.
Some customers state that they have found the tea worked well for them, resulting in pleasing weight loss results, although the amounts lost aren’t specified.
Others said that the tea had no effect on their weight and they were disappointed with the results.
Summary: There are some positive reviews online for Iaso Tea, but many appear to be written by sellers of the product. Reviews from Amazon customers are mixed, with some customers reporting impressive weight loss results and others who saw no results.
Iaso Tea Side Effects
Most of the Iaso Tea reviews mention its unpleasant side effects.
The side effects most frequently mentioned are stomach pains, gas and bloating, loose and foul-smelling stools, frequent urination and headaches.
Online sellers state that these are harmless, temporary side effects, and are simply a result of the tea removing all harmful toxins from the body. They say that headaches are attributed to mild dehydration, and suggest that users drink plenty of water to overcome them.
However, diuretic-induced urinating combined with diarrhea can quickly result in severe dehydration, which can be dangerous.
What’s more, studies have shown that chronic use of diuretics is associated with increased risk of death in people with certain long-term conditions such as hypertension and heart failure (15).
Summary: Drinking Iaso Tea may result in unpleasant side effects such as stomach pains, increased trips to the bathroom and headaches. Long-term use of diuretics has even been linked to increased risk of death in some people.
Results You Can Expect With Iaso Tea
Claims of miraculous weight loss and other health benefits made by the manufacturers of Iaso Tea are simply too good to be true.
If you start drinking Iaso Tea, you can expect a small, short-term weight loss from its diuretic properties, which will promote the loss of water weight.
However, this weight loss is all water, not fat, and will likely be regained once you stop drinking Iaso Tea.
Drinking two glasses of regular tea per day is a good way to increase your fluid and antioxidant consumption, which is important for a healthy lifestyle.
However, in the case of Iaso Tea, this may be offset by its diuretic properties and tendency to induce diarrhea and cause dehydration.
Achieving and maintaining significant weight loss is only possible through creating a calorie deficit.
Making small, sustainable changes to your diet and lifestyle is the best way to achieve this—not an expensive “weight-loss” tea.