A woman has detailed how detox teas influenced her eating disorder when she was younger after first purchasing the weight-loss drink when she was in high school.
Iman Hariri-kia, 23, an associate editor at Elite Daily in New York City, explained her experience with detox teas when she was younger in a personal essay with Teen Vogue on Friday.
She admitted to leading a rather sedentary lifestyle growing up and started gaining weight when she was 13 years old. 'I was first introduced to detox tea by a close friend during my junior year of high school,' Iman wrote.
Celebrities including the Kardashians, Cardi B and Iggy Azeala have previously come under fire for promoting detox teas on their own social media pages because of the message it sends women about body positivity.
The teas are advertised to burn fat, eliminate cravings and reset the digestive system — but Iman claimed all the drinks did for her body was work as a laxative.
'It did not suppress my appetite, curb my cravings, shrink my stomach, or any of the one million other empty promises I've seen detox brands claim to they can help achieve overnight,' she wrote, detailing how it made her 's*** a lot'.
'...More specifically, it gave me some of the most painful, violent diarrhea I had ever experienced,' Iman continued.
The problem with detox teas is the body already has its own detoxification process — the kidneys and liver — in place, and the organs work continuously.
Detox teas also often contain senna, an ingredient found in laxatives, and is advised by healthcare professionals including the NHS to only be consumed for a week at length to avoid lasting side effects.
Actress Jameela Jamil has been particularly outspoken in the fight against celebrities who promote 'dangerous' weight loss aids like the teas, accusing A-listers like Khloe Kardashian and Cardi B of encouraging their fans and followers to consume 'poison' in order to slim down.
The Good Place star regularly urges her followers to start seeing the teas for what they really are: laxatives.
'These "weight loss" products don't make you thinner,' she wrote in an Instagram post shared in November. 'They make you s**t. They give you diarrhea, which then gives you a flatter tummy for a day. THAT'S ALL... Laxatives are BAD for you.'
Iman admitted that she 'abused' the teas as laxatives, explaining that she entered into a form of bulimia with the help of the beverages.
'Although I never admitted it to myself until years after, I became heavily dependent, not on the teas, which tasted like fresh manure, but to the feeling of being empty,' she wrote in the Teen Vogue essay.
The associate editor used the detox teas daily for the next two years as she rode the high of receiving compliments from others around her about the weight she lost.
'As I shrunk, the problem grew,' Iman wrote. 'I was rapidly losing weight, and some close to me grew concerned.'
One issue was that the detox teas is they are often advertised as healthy and organic, so Iman tricked herself into believing what she was doing to her body was OK.
'I reassured myself that I was at my happiest and healthiest, and that the world couldn’t possibly understand — after all, the tea was branded as natural and healthy,' she wrote.
'I deluded myself about the realities of my mental and physical health, encouraged by the compliments I received from some around me. Meanwhile, as my resolve grew stronger, my body grew weaker.'
In college, Iman's routine of drinking teas daily severely impacted her body because she was eating at strange times and also consuming alcohol. Consuming meals became impossible for the editor who would then often projectile vomit the food.
On Thanksgiving one year, she found herself on the bathroom floor throwing up her entire meal.
'I spent the next three years going to doctors, seeing nutritionists, and enduring failed attempts to diagnose what was internally awry, all because I wasn’t willing to be transparent with my doctors about the detox teas I had abused for years (which I had finally stopped consuming after the terrible Thanksgiving experience),' Iman wrote.
Iman was later diagnosed with Celiac disease, where ones immune system can no longer digest gluten, and gastroparesis, meaning her intestines digest food at half-speed.
These chronic conditions are what Iman will have to manage for the rest of her life, she wrote. Her conditions even make her more susceptible to heart disease and liver damage.
And it was all because of the lasting damage the detox teas created in her stomach and intestines.
'I wish that when I was a teenager I hadn't chosen the immediate gratification the teas allowed me to experience; the immediate reward of artificial control, emptiness in the guise of wellness,' Iman wrote while admitting she has had to 're-educate herself' on how to be healthy.
'Detox teas had me hooked in a matter of minutes, but the repercussions of the time I spent abusing them are lifelong — and that’s time that I will never get back,' she explained.
In terms of her ongoing recovery, Iman admits that she doesn't think there will ever come a day when she feels 'fully recovered', noting that she is still working to 'overcome the mental duress that my laxative use caused'.
'I am making peace with renouncing a bit of self-control, and exercising my authority in other ways, mainly by taking the reins of my narrative and sharing my story with others who may struggle with something similar,' she wrote. 'I am re-educating myself about what it means to be healthy.'
Source: The Daily Mail