Have you heard about Iaso tea (or IASO tea) as a great way to lose weight and improve your health?
The product comes from a company called Total Life Changes and the implication is that this tea really can make you lose weight and improve your life overall.
But, is that really true?
Can Iaso tea really live up to all of the hype that surrounds it? For that matter, is it really possible for tea to have such a radical impact on your life to start off with?
Well, Total Life Changes would certainly like you to think so:
But does the hype match up to reality? We’re going to find that out in this Iaso tea review.
Before we begin though, let me make one thing clear. This isn’t going to be like most other reviews. For one thing, I don’t have a stake in the outcome. I’m not a distributor for Total Life Changes, so it doesn’t really make a difference to me whether you buy the products.
However, I am passionate about nutrition and learning what is real and what isn’t.
Over time, I’ve found that there is so much contradictory information about nutrition out there. Likewise, there are a lot of ways to lose weight that do actually work for some people and many more fads that can cost a lot of money but do little to no good.
So, I’m interested in seeing which of those camps Iaso tea falls in.
Iaso Tea Ingredients
With Iaso tea, the basic content is that you drink the tea twice a day to see ‘amazing’ benefits. In most of the marketing, the key focus is actually detoxing, not weight loss. However, many distributors promote the product as a weight loss tool as well and even write reviews focusing on that apparent benefit.
But, what does the tea actually have in it?
Well, according to the marketing, it contains 9 different herbs, which are as follows:
- Persimmon leaves
- Holy thistle
- Malva leaves
- Marsh mallow leaves
- Blessed thistle
You’re probably familiar with some of those and not others. So, let's take a brief look at them.
Of all these ingredients, ginger is the most well-studied. There can be no doubt that it offers health benefits and is a powerful addition to the diet. Some advantages include the ability to treat stomach upsets and to provide pain relief in some situations.
But, none of those benefits directly related to weight loss. There has been a little research in this area. Animals studies suggest that compounds from ginger and ginger itself can suppress the development of obesity (1,2). Ginger can also lower fasting blood sugar levels in rats and humans (3,4).
A pilot study suggested that a hot ginger drink increased energy used and lowered hunger (5). But, that study just involved 10 participants. The outcomes could also have been the result of the hot drink, not the ginger.
So, there is some evidence but it's pretty limited. There are also many more effective ways to get ginger in your diet.
Myrrh comes from tree bark. It is used in traditional medicine and as a flavoring for food and drinks. It has various potential benefits including the ability to fight coughs and congestion, decrease arthritis pain and reduce swelling (6,7).
While there is some evidence for these benefits, the scientific support is limited. It's also unclear how much you would need or how strong the outcomes are.
That aside, none of the proposed advantages are related to the claims Iaso Tea makes. Myrrh is unlikely to promote weight loss, improve skin tone or increase energy levels.
Papaya itself is sometimes associated with weight loss, partly due to the nutrients present in the fruit itself. It may also help improve digestion (8). However, these benefits are typically associated with eating the fruit, not using it as an ingredient in tea.
Some research also suggests that compounds in papaya leaves can help fight obesity (9). Even so, that research is focusing on isolating the compounds and researching them further. There's no significant evidence that supplementing with compounds from papaya will promote weight loss.
You're also likely to see more benefits from the fruit itself.
Some evidence supports chamomile as a way to decrease symptoms of depression (10). It may also help decrease anxiety and prevent an upset stomach.
As such, the ingredient may reduce the risk of side effects. By reducing depression symptoms, it could potentially increase energy. But, that aspect only has only been shown in people with clinical depression.
Again, the research suggests some minor benefits - just not ones related to Iaso Tea and weight loss.
Marsh mallow leaves
These leaves are often used in medicine, primarily as a way to decrease pain. They can also help treat constipation and stomach lining inflammation. These effects suggest a minor laxative effect but it's unlikely to be very strong.
Research on this ingredient is very limited and there seems to be no link to weight loss or energy levels.
As a fruit, persimmons offer various nutrients, along with health benefits. The leaves also contain beneficial compounds. These can help in reducing inflammation, improving the immune system (11,12)and also have antibacterial properties (13).
The leaves may also help control blood sugar levels (14). This last impact could possibly help with weight loss. But, the link between blood sugar control and weight loss isn't strong, and the research into persimmon leaves is in its early stages.
Holy Thistle and Blessed Thistle
These two names actually refer to the same ingredient. It's not clear why Iaso Tea lists it twice.
Wellness Mama has an article on some of the benefits of blessed thistle. These include acting as a stimulant and improving digestive function. Oddly, blessed thistle can also stimulate appetite. That seems counterproductive in a weight loss product.
There have been some studies into health benefits. But again, nothing that specifically relates to weight loss.
This is another ingredient that's common in traditional medicine and hasn't been studied much.
Alternative medicine sometimes uses the plant to treat stomach and bladder problems, along with relieving irritation in the mouth. It's unclear why the herb is included in Iaso Tea or what benefit the company expects it to have.
As you can see, there isn't a large amount of support for most of the herbs. The studies that have been conducted are typically small, limited in scope and/or poorly designed. In fact, that pattern is true for pretty much every herb out there.
Even if the observed benefits are accurate, most of them don't apply to any of the claims that Iaso Tea makes. It's difficult to see how these ingredients would promote weight loss. Even if they did, the effects would be as dramatic as what Iaso Tea claims.
Furthermore, most of the studies that have been done on these herbs will have used different amounts than you actually get in the tea. At the same time, none of these ingredients are especially unusual. Many of them will appear in digestive supplements or supplements to increase bowel movements.
So, there really is little evidence that these herbs will offer any health benefits all beyond increasing bowel movements for some people.
And, despite what the company implies, increasing your bowel movements isn’t necessarily good for your health – as I’ll explain in the next section.
Now, there is a chance that some of these herbs will offer health benefits and that these simply haven't been proven by research.
However, even if this is the case, it's likely that any benefits will be small.
After all, there is already a huge number of different herbal teas and herbal supplements on the market and most of the time people notice barely any health benefits from them. There isn't anything particularly revolutionary or unusual about Iaso tea to suggest that this product would be any different.
The ingredients in Iaso tea are simply a selection of herbs and there has been limited research into the potential benefits that they could offer
Health Benefits of Iaso Tea – Fact versus Fiction
If you look at some of the marketing for Iaso tea, you’ll notice that there is a lot of health benefits associated with it. For example, this is one list of benefits that I found:
Now, there is one very important thing to note here.
Most claims like these aren’t actually made on the Total Life Changes site at all. Instead, they are from external websites.
The reason for this is the business model. Total Life Changes is a MLM. This approach means that individuals act as distributors for the company, earning money by selling the products. Many of them seem to promote the products online, using various websites and social media profiles.
This is also why many of the marketing images are poorly made. For example, the one above has PROOF stamped on it (the word is in white, you may have to look carefully), while the one below still has the watermark from a stock photo site:
This pattern is extremely important – because it means that the company isn’t directly making the claims.
Now, Total Life Changes is probably giving people information about these ‘benefits’ but distributors are the ones doing the promoting. This trick lets the company get around having to prove any of those benefits – because technically it cannot control how distributors promote the product.
In fact, if you look on the Total Life Changes site, they only say that the tea cleanses the intestines and gets rid of toxins and parasites. That’s a pretty general claim – and doesn’t even say that doing so offers any health benefits at all.
Realistically, Iaso tea just consists of 9 different herbs, most of which haven’t been researched extensively.
Certainly, there are some potential health benefits of these various herbs but there simply hasn’t been enough research to prove anything. Additionally, you’re not really getting a lot of those compounds in with two cups of tea a day.
One of the key benefits of this tea is supposed to be that it detoxes you.
However, the whole idea of detoxing is a complete myth.
For one thing, the word itself is pretty much meaningless. It implies that you are getting rid of toxins. My first question is, which toxins? Nobody actually says, mainly because nobody really knows.
Because of this, there isn’t really a way to test whether a detox works. Instead, most people rely on how they feel and their bowel movements.
But, that’s not a good measure.
For one thing, how you feel is incredibly subjective.
If you believe something is going to make you feel better – most of the time it will. The same thing happens if you believe that something will make you feel worse. In scientific literature, this is called the placebo effect and it’s very powerful.
This is one reason why so much self-help advice focuses on how you view yourself and the world, and on the power of positive thinking.
What about bowel movements then? They’re less subjective.
The problem with bowel movements is that people assume that more bowel movements are a good thing. The general idea is that the more you get out of your body – the better it is.
I’ve even seen some sites talk about how we have fecal matter in our intestines that isn’t removed during normal bowel movements (which incidentally, is one of the motivations behind edemas as well). Total Live Changes even mentions something about this in their product description.
This is a very human concept. We think that things being clean is good and dirty is bad.
But, the body doesn’t work that way, not really. Instead, it’s a messy and complex system with many inter-related parts. In fact, the body already has a system for dealing with toxins and it is very effective at doing this.
So, excessively promoting bowel movements is not necessarily a good thing at all and could very easily cause health issues.
In fact, this is the reason why you should talk to a doctor if you plan to drink the tea regularly, especially if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you are elderly or have any serious health condition.
It's also worth noting that there is very little evidence that detox diets do anything good at all and the studies that have been conducted are heavily flawed. Yet, despite the lack of evidence, the popularity of detox diets continues - partly because people feel better afterwards, or at least, they convince themselves that they do.
Now, there is some evidence that our bodies can become inefficient at detoxing over time if we don’t get enough nutrients and have an unhealthy diet. The idea here is that our bodies can get overwhelmed, which is actually the argument behind detoxing to start off with.
But, a detox product isn’t really the answer for that type of problem. After all, this type of product mainly focuses on flushing out your system – which isn’t likely to help anything. Furthermore, even if you actually could remove toxins in this way, it isn’t a very good long-term solution.
Instead, if your body isn’t detoxing itself well, the aim would be to get your kidneys and liver doing their jobs properly. The best way to do that is to simply work on a healthy lifestyle, including less processed food, more nutrients and more exercise.
In some cases, it may be necessary to talk to a doctor as well, as some health conditions can affect the ability of the liver and kidneys to function properly.
Likewise, one key reason that people's bodies aren't clearing toxins efficiently is simply that they're not getting enough fiber. Again, a healthy diet can help to resolve this issue, while simply drinking tea won't help with fiber at all.
There is no evidence to support the health benefits associated with Iaso tea and the idea that it helps people to detox is simply a myth
Iaso Tea Reviews Online
If we’re going to look at how good Iaso tea actually is, then we need to consider what people actually think of it.
This is actually a tricky area because Total Life Changes is a MLM. The MLM structure means that there are many distributors for the company out there. Those distributors earn money by selling products from the company. So, they have an interest in making those products appear as good as possible.
In many cases, distributors will write glowing reviews for a product – making it seem much better than it is.
One thing that I look at is the reviews on Amazon, like for a one-month pack of the tea. The reviews are interesting because there is a mixture of positive and negative.
This pattern is always concerning. It tends to happen with products that are controversial, those that are very individual-specific or ones that are scams.
It's also a bad pattern if you want a product that works. If there are many negative reviews, there's a good chance that you won't see health benefits.
So then, let's look at the individual reviews.
First of all, there are some positive ones.
There are also people who just haven't seen outcomes.
Other people have experienced Iaso Tea side effects. Most of the negative reviews fell into this category.
Some of the side effects are to be expected, as Iaso Tea does seem to increase bowel movements. Even so, they're not encouraging and could have negative health implications.
For that matter, many reviews highlight side effects. This is never a good pattern. I would expect a few such reviews for any product but I counted dozens for Iaso Tea.
When considering these views together, it's clear that Iaso Tea isn't foolproof. It may work for some people, especially when combined with a healthy diet. But honestly, it's not going to have a dramatic impact. If you did lose weight, it would mostly be from water, rather than fat.
Reviews for the tea are all over the place, suggesting that some people see benefits and others simply don't
Can You Lose Weight with Iaso Tea?
From the research I’ve shown you, it’s pretty clear that Iaso tea doesn’t live up to all the hype that surrounds it. Likewise, it isn’t a revolutionary weight loss product, not by any means.
Additionally, as I mentioned before, it isn’t actually going to detox your body.
So, is it useless?
Tea, in general, can actually help with weight loss in a few different ways.
One way is in terms of behavior. It takes time to make a cup of tea and drinking one also takes a while. In most cases, you’re probably not eating something at the same time, especially if your focus is on weight loss.
This also makes tea good for managing food cravings.
You also end up getting a decent amount of water when you drink tea. Now, getting enough water is actually a key component of successfully losing weight and it can even make you feel full for a time (15).
Both of those processes do contribute to weight loss.
Beyond those benefits, the whole idea is pretty much hype.
Now, it is true that you may lose a little bit of weight at first when you use the tea. For example, the marketing suggests that you lose 5 lbs in 5 days, although actual users may lose closer to 2 or 3 lbs.
The thing is, your first week’s weight loss is always going to be irrelevant.
When you start any type of diet, the very first thing that you lose is water. Water weight is easy to lose (and easy to regain), so it’s pretty much meaningless.
Instead, the relevant information is how much weight people lose from the tea alone months into the process. Not surprisingly, the marketing doesn’t talk about this at all.
Of course, there is one more thing to consider.
Iaso tea would help you lose weight simply because you are having more bowel movements. But, that’s not really weight loss – not the type that counts.
It may be possible to lose some weight with Iaso tea but the same can be said for any tea. Furthermore, any weight loss potential isn't connected to detoxing or the herbs in the tea
After looking at everything that I’ve researched and examined for this review, I can safely say that Iaso tea isn’t that unusual. More than anything the tea is just a combination of herbs that may offer health benefits but probably won’t.
The most likely impact of drinking the tea is simply an increase in bowel movements, although some of the reviews on Amazon suggest that even that doesn’t happen for everyone.
Realistically, most people who lose weight or feel better after drinking this tea probably changed their lifestyle at the same time or are experiencing the placebo effect. There certainly isn’t much about the tea itself to suggest that it would cause significant weight loss or improved health.
Unfortunately, this product seems to be just another example of a company cashing in on people’s desire to lose weight and get healthy.
A good alternative is simply to rely on green tea. This would offer considerably more health benefits, without all of the detox hype or extra bowel movements.
Want to Lose Weight and Keep it Off?
Weight loss is a huge industry, with no shortage of hype. But, long-term weight loss doesn't come from a crash diet or a popular fad.
Instead, you need sustainable habits and healthy foods.
Check out my recommended weight loss products to see where you can get started