Do You Know What’s Really In Your Tea?

Tea is something I drink every single day. It’s sacred at my house – I even have a whole drawer devoted to it! I drink it because it is amazing for your health. There are so many varieties of tea that can improve digestion, metabolism and even prevent certain diseases. This investigation into tea ingredients has been in the making for a long time. What I’m about to share with you totally rocked my world forever and I’ll never look at tea in the same way again. Do you really want to know what’s in your tea?…Then read on.

Food Babe's Tea DrawerThe ancient Chinese tradition of drinking tea dates back thousand of years to the early Chinese dynasties and aristocrats who drank the beverage for its medicinal properties. In ancient times, leaves from the Camellia Sinensis (the tea plant) were either ground into a powder or placed as loose leaves directly into water to infuse it with herbal essence. Unfortunately, modern day tea is nothing like the unadulterated version of old tea. Many of today’s tea brands are operating under the guise of providing health benefits and promoting clean living, but are actually laden with pesticides, toxins, artificial ingredients, added flavors and GMOs.


Conventional Teas – An Abundance of Pesticides

Did you know that most tea is not washed before it is put it into bags? That means if the tea was sprayed with cancer-causing pesticides, those pesticides go directly into your cup. And this is the reason why tea is on my organic shopping priority list. To prove this point, here are some shocking facts about one of the most well-known tea brands – Celestial Seasonings.

A recent third-party analysis by Glaucus Research and discussed here found that 91 percent of Celestial Seasonings tea tested had pesticide residues exceeding the U.S. limits. For example, Sleepytime Kids Goodnight Grape Herbal contained 0.26 ppm of propachlor, which is a known carcinogen under California’s Propsition 65.

The “Wellness” tea line was found to contain traces of propargite, also a known carcinogen and developmental toxin. The FDA has already issued two warning letters to Celestial Seasonings in regard to poor quality control according to this source. Imagine what happens when pesticide-laden tea is steeped in boiling water.

If grocery store brands don’t provide a clean option for you, perhaps a high-end loose leaf tea would circumvent some of the issues of grocery store brands. Right? Wrong! Take Teavana, which is found in malls across North America for example. Teavana taps into tea culture with the “Teavana Experience.” Convincing their employees to take customers on a sensory journey – they open a huge canister of loose leaf tea and wave the top of the canister so you can smell the tea – touting all of the wonderful health benefits of tea complete with samples and manipulative demonstrations that end in an expensive visit to the tea shop. Is all the extra money worth it? Are customers getting a superior tea product? No.

Teavana tea was tested by an independent lab and 100 percent of it was found to contain pesticides. One tea in particular, Monkey Picked Oolong, contained 23 pesticides. 77 percent of the teas would fail European Union pesticide import standards, and would be banned from import. 62 percent of the teas tested contained traces of endosulfan, a pesticide that has been banned by the U.S., China, the E.U., and 144 other countries because it has been linked to impaired fertility and could harm unborn babies.

UPDATE (May 27, 2014): Glaucus Research funded the research done by Eurofins Scientific (an independent lab) and admits on their disclaimer that they are biased because they would make money if Hain’s stock declines. However – I am not sure that Eurofins’ research should be completely discounted on this point alone. Since I wrote this post, Celestial has been sued in a class-action lawsuit based on the pesticides that Eurofins found in their teas and for mislabeling of them as “100% Natural”.  The jury is still out on whether Eurofins’ research will be considered legit, as this case is still active in California.  The Plaintiffs contend that Celestial’s teas contain “pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, carcinogens, and/or developmental toxins (collectively, “Contaminants”)” and Celestial “did not dispute – and has never disputed – that the tea Products contained Contaminants. Nor has (Celestial) challenged the results of the Eurofins Tests” and “has not claimed that Eurofins was biased or that the Eurofins Tests were not, in fact, accurate”.   Even if it is determined that Eurofins’ research was not accurate – it’s important to note that Celestial’s tea that was tested is NOT organic and some of this tea is sourced from China.  Greenpeace issued a report on the alarming amount of pesticides found on tea from China, followed up by a detailed report on Lipton brand tea from China – in which they recommend only purchasing certified organic tea to avoid these pesticides. Reference law documents: Complaint; Plaintiff’s Memo in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss. Case 8:13-cv-01757-AG-AN


Teas Can Contain Artificial Flavoring, Natural Flavors, and Hidden GMOs

Furthermore, a majority of Teavana teas contain added flavor – specifically “artificial flavoring.” If their tea is so high end, why would they be adding ingredients produced by fractional distillation and chemical manipulation of various chemicals like crude oil or coal tar? Coal tar in my tea? No, thanks.


Many popular tea brands get away with using the ingredient “natural flavors” to trick the consumer into thinking they are buying better, cleaner ingredients; however companies are just covering up the inferior taste and low quality of their tea. Fortunately, there are brands that are putting the kibash on the use of natural flavors and using all real ingredients. I was happy to learn that Ahmed Rahim, CEO of Numi Tea is just as disgusted by this ingredient as I am. He said to me “You can breakdown anything that is found in nature and if it ends up tasting like the flavor you wish to use – you can add it to any product and call it NATURAL FLAVOR on the ingredient label. It could come from a stone in the ground and you’d never know.” This is why when I see the words “natural flavor” listed on a label – I put the product down and run far far away. I want to know what I am eating! Don’t you?

Additionally, the added risk of consuming possible GMOs is not something many people think about when consuming teas. Before this investigation and witnessing tea companies using modified corn starch and soy lecithin in tea (additives likely made from genetically engineered corn and soy), I didn’t think about it either! I can’t imagine having a serious soy allergy, considering all the places companies try to hide it.


Why The Tea Bag & Packaging Matters

A recent article in The Atlantic discusses the “silky sachet” and “luxurious mesh bags” that hold loose leaf teas (like in brands Tea Forte and Mighty Leaf). Turns out, these modern day bags meant to showcase the tea leaves, are made of plastic.

PLA (polylactic acid) is a (likely GMO) corn-based tea bag material that has attracted major tea companies due to its nice look and its claims of biodegradability. Terms like “silky sachets” and “corn-based biodegradable tea bags” mislead customers into believing a product is more natural and sustainable than it really is. While the processing for PLA removes all traces of genetic material, it is still made with genetically modified corn. Although the actual tea bag is not an ingredient like teas and herbs, it is an element that is put into boiling water.

According to The Atlantic, tea bags are most commonly made from food grade nylon or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which are two of what’s considered the safest plastics on the scale of harmful leaching potential. However, Dr. Mercola disagrees, he states:

“While these plastics are generally considered among the safest in terms of leaching potential, the molecules in these plastic tea bags may still in fact break down and leach out when steeped in boiling water…” Well, isn’t that how tea is prepared?

Another temperature consumers need to worry about in tea is the “glass transition” temperature. Here’s the science behind the glass transition temperature or, Tg, and why it becomes dangerous according to The Atlantic:

“That is the temperature at which the molecule in certain materials such as polymers begin to break down. As a rule, the Tg of a material is always lower than the melting point. In the case of PET and food grade nylon (either nylon 6 or nylon 6-6), all have a Tg lower than the temperature of boiling water. For example, while the melting point of PET is 482 degrees Fahrenheit, the Tg is about 169 degrees. Both nylons have a lower glass transition temperature than PET. (Remember that water boils at 212 degrees.) This means the molecules that make up these plastic tea bags begin to break down in hot water.”


So, while the plastic itself won’t melt in your tea, the glass transition temperature could potentially leak out harmful phthalates if there are such things in your tea. Another thing to worry about is that some of the newer tea bags are made with a variety of plastics. Some plastics are nylon, some are made of viscose rayon, and others are made of thermoplastic, PVC or polypropylene.

Beware of paper tea bags too, which can be worse than plastic tea bags.

GET THIS: Also according to Dr. Mercola, many “paper tea bags are treated with epichlorohydrin, a compound mainly used in the production of epoxy resins. Considered a potential carcinogen by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health2 (NIOSH), epichlorohydrin is also used as a pesticide. When epichlorohydrin comes in contact with water, it hydrolyzes to 3-MCPD, which has been shown to cause cancer in animals. It has also been implicated in infertility (it has a spermatoxic effect in male rats) and suppressed immune function.”

So what do you do the next time you want a cup of tea? Antioxidant rich teas aren’t going to do much to counterbalance the chemicals, additives and artificial flavorings in today’s modern teas.

First, I recommend looking at this chart below to see how your favorite tea brand stacks up:

Tea Comparison Updated 2 2015

And then when brewing and picking out the safest tea remember these tips:

1. Choose an organic & non-GMO certified brand of tea. (My favorites are Numi, Traditional Medicinals, and Rishi Tea (loose leaf)).

2. Check the ingredient list on the back of the tea package to make sure there are no added flavors, GMO ingredients like soy lecithin and corn starch added to the tea leaves.

3. Make sure the brand you buy uses a safe form of packaging material or buy loose leaf tea and use a stainless steel or glass tea strainer. Have the company verify that bags do not contain epichlorophydrin, and avoid plastic tea bags all together. (Numi and Traditional Medicinals are some of the only brands I trust in this category because they have publicly stated they do not use this harmful ingredient or GMO packaging and are Non-GMO Project verified.)

4. The majority of restaurants use some of the most pesticide ridden tea and brands that have harmful packaging like Celestial Seasonings, Lipton, etc. Don’t fall victim to this. Bring your own tea when eating out or going to restaurants and ask for pot or cup of boiling water (remember to leave a good tip if you do this). I even do this at Starbucks because I like to vote with my dollars and not buy tea brands that are harmful. If you drink iced tea, brew your own at home and carry an insulated water bottle with you.

5. Remember these temps and times for brewing the perfect cup of tea



If you know someone who loves to drink tea, please share this post with them. I was just as shocked as you probably are about all of this craziness – knowing what’s in our tea and what we put in our body matters! Let’s change the world together.

Food Babe

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1,477 Responses to “Do You Know What’s Really In Your Tea?”

  1. Jude

    I had a long conversation ( close to an hour) with Starbucks who work with both Tazo and Teavana and the Associate I spoke to read to me the ingredients on the boxes of the teas that were i question here and other teas that they serve and there were NO artificial flavorings or “Natural Flavors” We checked about pesticides and paper, and the plantation and companies that Starbucks and Tazo, and Teavana use now are okay.
    from my email.
    Our contact center can be reached at 877-309-3180 Monday-Friday 5am-8pm and Saturday 7am-4pm (PST).

    • Dania (to Jude)

      I’m a little late in the game (reading this article) and my heart sank when I saw my favorite brand on the list. I couldn’t help but check their site to read more or at least get an email address to ask for ingredients or better yet ask if there is any chance they will be adding themselves to the Non-GMO label. As I was reading, I saw it! The little “Non-GMO Project” certification. Needless to say, I’m a little confused. Is this valid or a “bait & switch”? Is it possible that some brands have now gained the “Non-GMO” since this article was released (2013)? Any chance an update of the investigation can be done? Just a thought.
      Thanks for all of your hard work and investigating! Keep it up! :)

      • Jude (to Dania) (to Dania)

        Dania, you are never too late in the game to learn about Tea.

        about the non gmo project, I looked them up
        they are very real and very trustworthy.

        they even have a list of Good teas under beverages. I suggest you look for the phone number or web site of every tea producer you have. (Tazo, Octavia, Tetley,…) and start emailing, or calling. companies love it when their consumers contact them to ask questions. it shows that they care about what is going into their product. for instance I asked Starbucks, did they know which plantations Tazo and Teavana got their tea from and if the tea plantations were using pesticides or GMO’s ask them about their suppliers, where they get their tea leaves, how It’s prepared, packaged shipped. because by the time some companies get the tea, the damage is done. pesticides have been used, not properly washed off, gmo’s may have been used and all without their knowledge. by our asking, we may start something.

  2. Sybil

    I am a tea junkie so this was helpful. But, like the companies and lobbyists out there, how do we knoe Numi teas isnt paying you to showcase a “clean tea”?

  3. Andrea

    Thank you for this timely post. I just received a gift from my 77 year old mother. I love tea and my mother found the Teavana winter tea collection on sale and thought I would love it. I never drink Teavana teas but thought I would take a look. When I reviewed the ingredients I found EACH tea packet contained artificial flavorings. I was very disappointed that Teavana continues to include these flavorings with the well known negative impact they have on health. Tea and tea blends are so flavorful there is not need to add artificial ingredients. It is just as easy to blend a fantastic organic loose leaf tea with organic herbs and spices. This way I know what I’m getting. My favorite blend is Black with Rose. I’ll stick with my favorite tea company (SevenCups) over Teavana any day of the week!

  4. Kristin

    I was so sad when I looked at the ingredients to my USDA organic Mighty Leaf teas and saw that they all contain “natural flavors.” I found an article in Scientific American explaining that natural flavors can in fact be more dangerous than artificial flavors because they are not subject to the same rigorous level of safety testing required for artificial flavors. They can be the exact same chemicals as those found in artificial flavoring, but the fact that they’re naturally sourced means they don’t have to be tested in a lab for safety.

    So I’ve begun to purchase mainly straight tea since the flavored teas are the primary culprits here. If I want to buy a mint, jasmine or lemongrass tea, I look for products with very straightforward ingredients lists — and don’t assume that the organic label covers many bases other than “minimal or no pesticides.”

    I hadn’t realized Numi didn’t use natural flavors — I’ll certainly revisit them now that I know that.

    I don’t mind consuming GMO agricultural products since the scientific community unanimously agrees that no rigorous tests have ever found any evidence that they pose any dangers.

    • Vicky (to Kristin)

      I just wanted to respond to your closing comment about GMO, that “the scientific community unanimously agrees that no rigorous tests have ever found any evidence that they pose any dangers.” First, that is a very strong, categorical statement, one that should raise red flags if coming from a scientist. (Scientists are cautious by nature. That’s why it took decades to prove a link between cigarettes and lung cancer.) Second, and more importantly, the problem with GMOs is not the genetic modification per se–scientists argue, reasonably enough, that genetic mutations are happening all the time, whether by our design or by accident–but with the fact that the genetic modifications are meant to enable crops to tolerate otherwise fatal doses of pesticides, fungicides, etc. These chemicals cannot simply be washed off, and they wind up in our food (not to mention in neighboring crops that are not intended to be GMO-modified). Scientists who study the effects of one mutation in a cell line over the course of a 3-month experiment may indeed find no ill effects under those conditions. But those are not the conditions the rest of us are subject to, with thousands of chemicals accumulating in our water supplies, air, food, etc. Studies have shown that newborns contain as many as 200-300 foreign chemicals in their bloodstreams, from maternal exposure to plastics, medicines, pesticides, etc. No one has any idea how these chemical cocktails affect us, because it’s impossible to study so many factors at once–there are no “controls,” i.e., infants who are completely free of such chemicals to whom we could compare the first group over the course of a lifetime. And remember, too, that scientists in Europe are the reason Europe has banned many of those same pesticides used here (such as neonicotinoids, now known to be killing bees). Scientists are human, too, and therefore subject to biases and pressures just like anyone else.

  5. Zevel More

    The point of the article is well taken, however, the many health benefits of tea far likely outweigh the potential hazards. Just read the article: “12 Surprising Health Benefits of Tea” in EverythingForTea (dot) com (under the ‘Tea Info Center’ tab).

  6. Drew Avery

    Great article!

    One thing you might want to look at for future articles is the amount of fluoride in these teas. Fluoride levels are nornally associated with municiiple water systems, but I was shocked to learn high fluoride levels in somes teas (especially in the older leaf black teas) are at levels that could be considered unhealthy.

    Keep up the good work!

  7. Yassinna

    Has David’s Tea been verified too?
    Thanks for the great work.I am a tea lover and my favorite label is David’s Tea, so I am confused now after reading this article!

  8. Heather

    Does anyone have any information on my tea…Yorkshire???? My favorite….thank you

  9. Debbie

    Even so called “Organic” teas are NOT organic. The LAW allows them to use the name “Organic” as long as 51% is organic and 49% is filler trash tea. SO only buy tea that states 100% Organic and also states NO pesticides. Otherwise, you will never know what you are truly drinking.

  10. michael

    very informative

  11. Nicolette Spears (to )

    Hahaha! Amazing :)

  12. Karen (to )

    As the majority of the corn in the world is GMO, how can your bags be okay?

  13. Food Babe (to )

    EU standards are the same ones Teavana follows and 100% of their teas tested positive for pesticides. Is Steeped USDA certified organic? You know my stance on natural flavors. The silk bags are GMO corn based.

  14. Joseph (to Tea Time)

    Where did it say anything about Yogi tea? I just saw a picture of the brand in the picture of the drawer, but didn’t see it mentioned in the article. Did I miss something?

  15. Joseph (to Joseph)

    Never mind. I see the check mark in the chart.

  16. Sam (to Joseph)

    It is mentioned in the chart comparing the different brands. The chart claims that Yogi tea contains toxic pesticides and “natural flavors”.

  17. Janus (to Joseph)

    Yogi is in the second last chart.

  18. Lindsay (to Joseph)

    It’s in the last graph.

  19. Susie Horvath (to Food Babe)

    I love tea (Traditional Medicinals) and I just bought a bunch a Teavana. I went out on a limb. I have gotten the worst headaches from their tea and I now think I know why. I eat uber clean and detox all the time, so I wonder if my body just hates this. Does anyone else react negatively to their teas?

  20. Amy (to Food Babe)

    I think you ought to mention that the study on Teavana was done by a short seller who stood to gain financially if their stock price dropped due to the allegations. That doesn’t make them wrong, but it is a huge consideration. That study should be taken with a grain of salt.

  21. Pam (to Food Babe)

    I received the same letter from the owner of the Canadian company “Steeped Tea” & I think she was quite clear about what “natural” flavors are in their teas ….. all botanical & extracted from nuts, seeds or plants. I may be wrong but I believe the Canadian laws in this regard are much more stringent than in the U.S.
    I agree that there is no reference to their bags as being GMO free, however since this is loose-leaf tea you can easily choose to use a metal or glass tea ball infuser.

  22. Dan (to Food Babe)

    How many teas? How many samples? Why is this significant?

  23. PAT (to Food Babe)

    Any info on Red Rose Teas?

  24. Adrienne (to Food Babe)

    I am going through all the teas in my drawer and checking the labels, Steeped Tea (loose)- Touch Organic- Archer Farms Organic – Health & Healthier – Numi – Fully Loaded Tea – etc. (I am a junkie), anyhow what am I looking for to tell if it has pesticides.

  25. Ant (to Food Babe)

    If these tea co. Are sourcing these teas from around the world as non pesticide ,and organic ,just think about this ,a giant mountain in northern china,multiple co. Source their tea from this mountain and their are 100 tracts owned by different owners some who use pesticides some do not,at any given rain,these chems. Eventually cover entire mountain and get into everything growing on it,even an organic products are grown on pesticide ladden areas around the world ,you would have to find a virgin mountain side with no air pollution something no one has brought up,have you seen the smog above these places where these teas are grown.? 50 and been drinking tea my whole life and it could be one of the contributors to the many sicknesses today,not the tea itself,but all of the other influences,chems,aluminum ,plastic,pollution

  26. Heather Matthys (to Food Babe)

    Are you aware that Natural Medicinals and Richi also use natural flavoring in some of their teas?

  27. LaLa (to Food Babe)

    Teavana, all their teas? Even their matcha?

  28. Ann (to Food Babe)

    I saw that Yogi tea is on the list of teas that have “Natural Flavor” but I see it in your drawer of tea bags. Is this a tea to dismiss or good to use!?

  29. Elizabeth (to Susie Horvath)

    You can’t “detox” except by using your kidneys and liver, and not eating crap in the first place. (The “organic juice detox” may be good quality juice, but it does not detox anything, and drinking only juice causes your body to break down muscle tissue for protein.) Please save your money instead of giving it to charlatans selling you snake oil.

  30. Greg (to Susie Horvath)

    I get a headache from Teavana’s prices and horrible sales personnel training–aggressive, relentless and pushing for a sale. Tea is a product I associate with leisure moments and peacefulness–leave me basically alone to shop, answer questions if asked. As far as their tea goes, I’ve enjoyed their nonflavored teas but this article has been a gamechanger for me–I’ll avoid Teavana.

  31. Jaslyn (to Susie Horvath)

    I bought a BUNCH of teas from Tevana – I mean bags and bags of the stuff. The Peach gives me an INSTANT headache just from SMELLING it!! I had NO idea!!! I can not smell it much less drink it! NOW I know why!! Bummer! What a waste of money! The other 2 type I purchased do give me a headache but those I have to drink to get a headache. The Maharaja Chai gives me a headache when I drink it, but the blueberry one seems to be fine with me, at least in small doses.

  32. Virginia Llorca (to Susie Horvath)

    I love my Teavana blend which I am not writing down here because I do not want to get up and walk to the cabinet to look for its label. It doesn’t seem to have much tea in it. Berries, fruit rinds, I pick the fruit rinds or peels out of the can and add them to my tea so pretty soon the blend will be without them. The aroma is addictive. If I finish a cup and it is siting there, the smell makes me go make another cup. I had to buy Optic white toothpaste and limit myself to two cups a day. The color on the tea ball and in the cup also shows up on your teeth.

  33. tima (to Susie Horvath)

    Me! I thought I was the only one, but I guess there are two of us. I bought a couple blended teas from Teavana and had the worst headaches from them. I mean migraine like. Initially I thought perhaps it was the weather, or blood pressure or something else, but I tried the tea for several days and whammo, each time.

  34. Carolyn (to Susie Horvath)

    I am having bad headaches and didn’t even think about my teas!!! I am going to take a break from them and see what happens! Thank you so much for mentioning this. I am so desperate! Last night my head hurt so bad my teeth hurt, and I was drinking non organic tea all day!

  35. John (to Susie Horvath)

    Yes. I ordered a tea from there, went outside and my head started spinning and I became very flush!! I was almost in a panic mode. I knew that this tea had something awful in it. Now I know, pesticides and who knows what else. Ugh!

  36. patrick (to Elizabeth)

    Actually there are a number of ways to detox, first there’s respiration, second there is perspiration ,third a high fiber diet w pull or drag bad stuff out of your insides,tons of water,detox tea’s are also effective,read learn and grow,science renews itself

  37. Elizabeth (to patrick)

    If you find me a single peer-reviewed article that says any of these things “detoxes” your body, I’ll change my mind. I’ve been studying this topic because “detox” is the new buzz word, and the marketing machine is taking advantage of the uninformed. (It’s like saying a product is “natural.” We all like natural, right? Only the word “natural” has no legal or regulated meaning on food labels. I could mix the byproducts of soybean oil production with food coloring, imitation flavors, and various white powders and sell it as natural without violating any rule or law.)

    Perspiration is largely water and salts. While there may be a small amount of other substances in sweat, the function of sweat is to cool the body, not to release “toxins.” There are multiple doctors and professors on record stating this, several of which have been quoted in a recent issue of Women’s Health magazine. You can also find citations in most fitness industry publications, as the “swear to detox” myth has been promulgated to sell everything from hot yoga to heated spin classes.

    Respiration is only detoxifying if you are exhaling smoke while smoking. Everything you exhale is the byproduct of gas exchange in the lower lobes of your lungs. The only “toxin” you exhale is carbon dioxide, which is the chemical byproduct of the oxygen exchange process.

    Eating fiber is a necessary part of your diet because it forms most of the solid part of feces and because it prevents the absorption of some calories in people with a healthy gut bacteria (the rat studies on this were just published–I’m pretty sure you could find them using google). There is nothing that just randomly sits in your intestines waiting to be pulled or dragged out–the childhood myth that chewing gum rots in your tummy for five years is a myth–all solids from everything you eat are eventually pushed out the anus through the actions of the smooth muscle of the digestive system.

    Science constantly renews itself. This is how we KNOW that the liver and kidneys filter unwanted substances out of the body. Science is how we know perspiration does not have a detoxifying effect. Science is how we know that those funny foot pads feel good but do not remove anything from your body, much less a “toxin.”

  38. Sara H (to PAT)

    I’m curious about Red Rose too. I drink several cups a day =/

  39. Tom in Tempe (to Elizabeth)

    The body definitely sweats out toxins. If you eat toxic food and sweat you can see the remains on a white t shirt. (ring around the collar). The skin is a very important detox path for the body. Oh, and “science” is a false religion which is completely corrupt and for sale to the highest bidder.

  40. Jessica (to Elizabeth)

    Massage. Acupuncture. To some extent, even chiropractic care. While they they may or may not, in and of themselves, completely detox your body (much debated), they drastically improve your body’s functions to increase and speed up detox.

    And eating isn’t the only way we get “toxify” our bodies, btw. Drugs, alcohol, air we breathe, crap in our water, food, etc. Lots of ways we get toxins in our bodies.

  41. concerned citizen (to Elizabeth)

    If you want actual scientific reporting, don’t come here. The Food Babe is just building herself a bigger soapbox. She’s probably smart enough to figure out what real scientific research looks like, but reporting on this wouldn’t get her the audience she seeks. So she does what Fox News and Rush Limbaugh do: makes provocative statements with little or no substance behind them, and watches her fan base expand.

  42. Andy (to Elizabeth)

    If you want actual scientific reporting, don’t come here. The Food Babe is just building herself a bigger soapbox. She’s probably smart enough to figure out what real scientific research looks like, but reporting on this wouldn’t get her the audience she seeks. So she does what Fox News and Rush Limbaugh do: makes provocative statements with little or no substance behind them, and watches her fan base expand.

  43. Kate (to Elizabeth)


  44. lauren (to Elizabeth)


    Actually ,you are wrong about feces in the intestine. If your bowel muscles are sluggish, which happen often to people who have a bad diet and don’t eat enough fiber, the food can rot. While it will eventually come out, you should be having bowel movements daily. Feces are toxic and should not be kept in the body.

  45. KateS (to Elizabeth)

    Elizabeth. I totally agree with you.

  46. denise (to Elizabeth)

    actually, sweat does contain small amounts of urea and other metabolic wastes, so yes sweat can be said to detox the body.

  47. denise (to Elizabeth)

    Actually, sweat does contain small amounts of urea and other metabolic wastes, so yes sweat can be said to detox the body. The skin is considered an organ of excretion.
    Additionally, the liver does much more than just “filter” stuff our of the body — it has an active process of breaking materials down (alcohol, of course is a good example, but many others) And fiber binds to the bile salts and excreted bi-products, so yes fiber does help remove wastes from the body.

  48. Sarah (to Elizabeth)

    Bravo Elizabeth!

  49. thomas (to Elizabeth)

    You are so right. It is easier to slam science than to read it.

  50. Woomaster (to Elizabeth)

    Amen. Thank you.

  51. Blake (to Elizabeth)

    Heh, very cool synopsis of what seems like common sense. So much to learn, so many charlatans. Thanks for the information.

  52. Emily (to Elizabeth)

    For skeptics about detox: Pau d’Arco tea creates body odor as it detoxes. If you start with your base dose, and no longer have a smell, then you double or add more, and the smell comes back. I got up to 8 capsules a day. Don’t start at 8, though. You exude from skin, ears, underarms, etc. Pretty convincing, eh?

    You can also ‘colon cleanse’ via diet. On a weight loss phase I was supposed to limit to a short time, and went long term because I had no time to cook with the jobs I had, I ate lettuces sprayed with vinegar and a little peppermint oil. A friend was was into colon cleansing a little fanatically (my opinion, of course) exclaimed ‘How did you do that?’ and I told her about the lettuce routine.

    So, yeah, there is such a thing as detox. That whole cascara sagrada, walnut shell, etc. is also real. You will not feel too good doing it, though; I didn’t.

  53. Emily (to Elizabeth)

    I replied to this re Pau d’Arco; regimen of lettuce sprayed with vinegar; and the standard cascara sagrada and walnut routine. When I hit ‘Submit Comment,’ a page with a Food Babe picture said “This page does not exist” and it had a redirect ‘back to Food Babe.’
    Now, is that weird or WHAT?
    Anyway, Pau d’Arco provably, for you skeptics, cleanses: It creates body odor that goes away when you are cleansed to that level, that dose. As you slowly increase the dose, the body odor returns. Don’t start at 8 capsules, or five droppers full, start at one, and slowly increase.
    Lettuce sprayed with vinegar, sustained, will do colon cleansing you pay a lot of money for, and you will lose weight. Takes some discipline. I was very very busy when I did that, on ‘Doctor’s Quick Weight Loss’ program years ago.
    So I don’t give a damn about alleged scientific studies, when I can demonstrate something to myself. People who say ‘send me a link’ when you’re telling them what is happening in your back yard are living in Link City.

  54. tinita (to Elizabeth)

    there’s urea in sweat

  55. Emily (to Elizabeth)

    Thank you, thank you thank you. Every time I hear “detox” I cringe. Do your homework people, or just read this post :)

  56. Q. Looper (to Elizabeth)

    I use the term “full body cleanse” or full internal cleanse rather than “detox” because YES you very much can cleanse out bad things that accumulate in the body such as heavy metals, etc., using certain foods/supplements.

  57. Ann (to Elizabeth)

    I couldn’t have said that better myself, good word Elizabeth.

  58. Bryan (to Elizabeth)

    Elizabeth since you’ve done the leg work … How can I detox apparently Tea isn’t gonna do it! Can you point me in the right direction thanks!

  59. Karol (to Elizabeth)

    Thank you so much Elizabeth.I feel that people nowadays just jump into the bandwagon of whatever buzzword/trend of the moment.Its great that people are now reading more and wanting to know what is in their food but its only a few people who read and check and verify their stories.Most people just want to go to a website that says something is good or bad and they take that as the truth before researching.Or they do research but don’t check credible sources..I for one don’t have a problem with GMOs,yes I hate multinationals,yes Monsanto is greedy but until there is sufficient information to prove that GMOs are evil then i wont discredit them…People are still going to lose money buying ”detox” teas and say that they eat well?And usually people who support tea X while slandering drink Y get some money from company X to do that so too much conflict of interest.

  60. cedarbud (to Andy)

    Fox Business News and Rush back up their opinions with fact. IE: Sound bites from things said in the past…that most people have forgotten about. They are great educators about constitutional rights of the American people and how we should be more involved with our politicians to get back what we are loosing. The only negative is that they talk too long about one topic…sort of like the folks on QVC.

  61. Kimberly (to Andy)

    I was going to say the same thing. She didn’t mention lead being in some of these imported teas. And I read a BIG article on that just months ago. So, I see two things here and that is one, she sends out info but doesn’t take in info/feedback from her readers. And second, I would encourage those that are curious or concerned to do their own research and not just from one source. Look for independent testing labs. Do look at what the FDA says. And if you really want a controversy, Dr. Mercola is the best!

  62. Pam (to Andy)

    Andy prefers to grumble against the messenger rather than do the research himself. He likes having a tyrannical government where there can be no controversy!

  63. Marie (to cedarbud)

    If you are holding Rush Limbaugh and Fox Business News as your guides, you really need to look inside yourself to find out if you can handle the “truth” because bias, prejudice, fear-mongering and misinformation are their selling points for false ego and monetary agendas. Notwithstanding your feelings for my comments, I truly can only hope for your release from ignorance. I really don’t mean to be offensive, but seriously? It’s not funny, I’m not laughing at you, I just feel pity, yet still hope for the dispelling of nonsense as your reality. Bigotry is not a joke.

  64. Linda (to cedarbud)

    Maybe Rush can explain to you the difference between the words “lose” and “loose”. Then again, maybe not, so never mind.

  65. fitfam (to cedarbud)

    I couldn’t agree more. Fox News does a great job and I would have them 1000 times over CNN.

  66. Allisa (to Jaslyn)

    While at the mall a week and a half ago, Teavana was pushing a sweetened citrus tea and a blended chai tea. Bot were quite tasty so I bought a small bag of each (about 2/3 dry measure each at FORTY-SEVEN BUCKS! OUCH!) When I got home, I drank two cups of the chai blend, then came the queasy tummy, watery mouth and I barely made it to the sink before it all jumped out of me. I threw it all out. Will never buy Teavana again.

  67. benjamin (to lauren)

    Rotting if broken down is heat and time and microbes….cooking adds heat(rots), shortens time(rots faster), and kills most microbes (the part about rotting food that actually makes you sick). All cooked food is just a controlled rotting process.

  68. Chrissi (to lauren)

    there is even a condition of intestinal dysmotility where the lower intestine and bowel can actually stop moving altogether as well

  69. jacobusmcmxlvii (to Kimberly)

    You trust the FDA? Hmmmm…

  70. Jesse (to jacobusmcmxlvii)

    You trust Mercola? Hmmmm…

  71. jacobusmcmxlvii (to Jesse)

    Not without considerable further investigation – but, on the basis of a lot of published information, I certainly wouldn’t trust the FDA (or anyone/anything with vested interests and/or susceptible to bribery & corruption or blackmail).

  72. Sean (to Pam)

    Yes I totally agree… Loose leaf teas are so much better and they do have the option of steeping in an infuser, tea ball …

  73. Michael P. (to Pam)

    i was told they also comply with European laws, which i think are more stringent than both Canada or US. I just heard about this company yesterday and trying to find more info on them. But the fact that their name is also an adjective describing tea, in addition to the proper noun, it’s hard to find things with an internet search. when i search “steeped tea” it primarily comes up with the generic term of tea that is steeped.

  74. Tea Man (to Pam)

    She is lying. Or maybe just not informed. The companies that make natural flavors will never disclose the sources of what their flavors are made of. It is how they make money. So while the flavors may come from botanical sources, they can also come from chicken, beef, bark, algae and even animal glands (which is popular for making raspberry and vanilla flavors).

    Just think about it. What is cheaper, veggies or animal by products? Because I guarantee you the flavor companies will use the cheapest source possible.

  75. Laura (to Pam)

    Canadian laws regarding food labelling are very lax. I am more familiar with how colours are and aren’t labelled, but I think the US actually is stricter in general.

  76. Julie (to Tom in Tempe)

    Tom in Tempe as in Tempe, AZ? I’m an ASU alum!

  77. Sarah C (to Tom in Tempe)

    What you are seeing on your shirt after a good sweat is dirt and dead cells from the surface of your skin, not toxins from within. Just like any other physical object, our bodies collect dirt and dust from the environment around us. You are going to believe what you want to it seems, but Science IS a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations. How do you test yor fantastical explanations?

  78. DoC BiC (to Tom in Tempe)

    Not “completely” corrupt…much of it is just misguided, but limiting one’s inductive and investigational parameters to methodological naturalism will tend to do that.

  79. Mia (to Tom in Tempe)

    Oh my god, really?!?!?! That ring is nothing but dirt that collects on the oil from your skin. Have you not noticed that some people (I) never get “ring around the collar” and others (my husband) do? I have very dry skin, my husband has oily. Do you see the connection? Science is a false religion? You believe there’s a magic potion called detoxing? I don’t know whether to laugh at you or feel sorry for you. I fuess I’ll do both along with hoping you wise up soon.

  80. Mary (to Amy)

    I was wondering the same thing….

  81. Mike (to Amy)

    Grain of salt? Investors who short any particular stock will short it for a reason. Number one is to make money. In this case, these companies were shorted because of pesticides found in them and from this one can deduce that the public’s consumption will be reduced for teas containing NO pesticides and hence reduce that company’s stock price. Call it due diligence if you will. You can blow it off but I wont. I buy my teas from Mountain Rose Herbs a pesticide free producer.

  82. Parra (to concerned citizen)

    I agree . The problem is she is taking advantage of the less informed people who believe anything they read.

  83. TheGhostofBelleStarr (to concerned citizen)

    LOL—and your President and his Admin. are soooooooooooo well known for telling the truth , keep drinking the kool-aid, and you are worried about tea …lol

  84. culi (to concerned citizen)

    well said!!!!!!

  85. Kelly (to J Navakon)

    After reading comments about Celestial, Yogi and other well known brands, it amazes me that she thinks that this is credible. It is not! she improperly informed people about certain teas and has taken it upon herself to snub nose companies.

    Do your research people, do not rely on what other people research, rely upon your own.

  86. Kyle Swanson (to J Navakon)

    I am very confused now too. Is there any good green tea out there without pesticides/ radiation/ additives.?where is the reliable comparative data on these brands? Is this too much to ask for???

  87. Tom in Tempe (to Sarah C)

    Science is for sale to the highest bidders. You have to look at every scientific study and follow the money. Who financed the study? If skin is not a major detox organ, why does sweat smell bad? Why are traces of urea found in it? Open your mind.

  88. Tom in Tempe (to Mia)

    OK, but what is in that sweat besides dirt? When you have to resort to insults, you are just showing ignorance. Have a nice day

  89. Chris (to Belades)

    I actually checked out the EPA regs (40CFR180) and one of the teas that Glausus and their test lab, eurofins, claimed exceeded the levels allowed and guess what? It actually didn’t exceed allowed levels, of any of the listed pesticides where there is an EPA level set. It was a very tedious process, those chemicals have odd names.

    Bottom line is as Glaucus says on their web site:

    “The research and reports on this website reflect the opinions of Glaucus Research Group California, LLC (“Glaucus Research”), and we have based our opinions on facts and evidence collected and analyzed, all of which we set out in our research reports to support our opinions. This is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. We strongly recommend that you do your own due diligence before buying or selling any security, and each investor must make any investment decision based on his/her judgment of the market and based upon all available information. At any time, you should presume that the principals of Glaucus Research and/or Glaucus Research clients and/or investors hold trading positions in the securities profiled on the site and therefore stands to realize significant gains in the event that the price of the stocks covered herein rises or declines. See our important full disclaimer on our “Legal” page.”

  90. Woomaster (to Jessica)

    Detox? What “toxins”, specifically — like which ones by name, are “purged” as a direct result of any of those things you mentioned? I think you probably have no idea and are just saying things you heard somewhere once. There is no debate.

    The only detoxifier is your bodies own systems. Drink water.

  91. krbudden (to Sara H)

    Apparently, according to CBC marketplace tonight, red rose has no pesticides.

  92. Maria (to David)

    I see this “changing the world” as if we are placing a band aide over a compound fracture. The wound is real, and in this case, self inflicted. If not addressed or cared for at all, it becomes fatal. A slow painful death that people will continue to tell you, why are you not doing anything to help get better, but your first thought when you placed that band aide on was, “this isn’t so bad, it’ll go away on it’s own” or ” I don’t have time to deal with this, it’s not like it’s gonna kill me” . The thought of any actual fear coming to the surface, is a good thing. Lack of knowledge keeps mankind ignorant. Fear is basically broken down to ; something I want, I am not going to get, or something I have I am going to lose. There is nothing wrong with identifying with either one of these, but no one person can create fear, only your mind. We give the human race super human powers when we say others do this to us.

    You bring up human trafficking, also. Once again, a devastating issue, and is there any solution you may want to add? There are people, FAMILYS, every day, risking their lives to help this horrific crime that has overwhelmed so many. I see it happen first hand where I live, and for no profit. God knows, sees and will ultimately correct each and every one of us, fight Him now or later. Peace to you always

  93. dorothea (to Sam)

    Actually the check mark was for natural flavors only.
    Just clarifying the list.

  94. kellu (to Sam)

    I only see one check mark under natural flavors. Am I missing something?

  95. desi (to Sam)

    I drink Yogi tea especially green, jasmine. The ingredients listed are jasmine green tea, ginger, liquorice, lemon grass, lemon peel, black pepper, lemon verbena, rose petals. All of the ingredients are certified organic. Sorry but I don’t see any ‘natural flavors’.

  96. Roberta (to Virginia Llorca)

    Use a mix of coconut oil, baking soda, and sea salt to use as a toothpaste and it will get rid of the stain on the teeth…. I use about 4-8 parts coconut oil, about 2 parts baking soda and about 1/4-1/2 part Himalayan Pink sea salt…. don’t use water on the brush and don’t rinse – just spit… you want the cleaning and healing properties of the ingredients in the mouth and on the teeth….

  97. Sam (to desi)

    It seems like they’ve updated the chart since the time of my last comment.

  98. Jaimie (to desi)

    Desi, I ask Yani the same thing regarding Yogi teas. I noticed she had Yogi tea in her drawer full of tea bags. I love their organic Stress Relief tea and am hoping this only applies to some of their teas???

  99. Marley (to desi)

    Only some Yogi teas contain so-called “natural” flavors.

  100. marie (to Marie)

    Who cares what politics people believe in,what we eat and put in our bodies is the subject now.

  101. Cory (to LaLa)

    No, not all their teas. Matcha has a label saying it is certified organic. No worries. This is just an issue of overgeneralization.

  102. Debbie Jones (to Roberta)

    I just read yesterday that coconut oil is a great toothpaste but not to spit it down the sink because it can clog up your pipes.

  103. Scribe (to Tom in Tempe)

    This is a late response but I just feel compelled to provide factual info.

    Of course you should use your critical faculties when reading scientific studies. Examine not only the funding, but the methodology, sample size, whether it has been replicated, etc.

    Still, it’s been established that the skin is not a major detox organ. Sweating regulates temperature. The body has systems for the removal of ‘toxins’ (i.e. things it doesn’t need), and sweating plays no significant role in this.

    The primary cause of body odour is bacteria on the skin that breaks sweat down into acids. Generally, sweat itself has no smell.

    Sweat contains a tiny amount of urea but nothing in comparison to urine, which DOES play a major role in the removal of toxins.

    You can find lots of evidence and a range of studies demonstrating these facts. There is no solid and consistent evidence that the ‘detox’ fad is anything but that.

  104. Joe Smith (to Tom in Tempe)

    Actually, sweat doesn’t smell bad. Typically what smells bad are the micro organisms, bacteria, etc that feed off of the sweat. Also, foods you eat can cause your sweat to smell. Take for instance, garlic, a very healthy food. If you eat too much your sweat will smell. Does that mean you are “detoxing”? Hardly, since garlic is great for you.

    Yes, there are tons of researchers doing crappy science for money but there are alos many more doing solid research for scientific purposes. Learn a bit about scientific methodology and statistics and maybe you will be able to weed out the good from the bad.


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