You all know I’m no fan of meal replacement shakes. Because of that, you could say that this review couldn’t be truly unbiased. And you are probably right. But I try to keep it professional and only review the ingredients. I haven’t personally tried Flat Tummy products, but I also haven’t tried crack.
That just ain’t for me.
Neither are something that as a health professional, I would ever put into my body. So if you’re simply looking for a review of whether or not the products work, please read on. They may work, but they may work because you’re literally taking a laxative. The main ingredient in this tea is senna, something given to many patients before an operation to empty the intestines. So will your stomach look flatter after you empty your intestines?
Is this safe or something you should be doing on a regular basis? HELL NO.
Now let’s examine why.
I actually have no issues with the activate tea. I mean, it’s not going to magically give you the best energy of your life, jumpstart a sluggish metabolism or make you skinny, but the ingredients are pretty good.
I like lemon balm for the calming effects, I love dandelion root for liver support, green tea is a gentle form of caffeine. Looks good.
The cleanse portion is where we run into some serious issues.
Senna is a laxative. Plain and simple.
Let me share a little story with you. Some of the worst cramping and diarrhea I’ve ever had was after drinking senna tea. I used to keep it on hand years ago, before I discovered nutrition and was constantly constipated (also, I didn’t realize I was celiac at the time). I hated to take it, but I was desperate. I had to take it at night on a Friday, because I’d often wake in the middle of the night with such severe cramping and diarrhea that would last well into the next day. Cute right? I’m all about TMI.
Repeated laxative use can cause a plethora of issues including imbalanced gut bacteria, depleted electrolyte storage and can even cause the bowels to stop functioning on their own by developing a dependence on senna.
Longer use can cause the bowels to stop functioning normally and might cause dependence on laxatives. Long-term use can also change the amount or balance of some chemicals in the blood (electrolytes) that can cause heart function disorders, muscle weakness, liver damage, and other harmful effects. Source
Nowhere on the Flat Tummy site do I see this information. I see a subscribe and save option, which would allow women (because let’s be honest – these products are marketed to and for women) to use these products on a frequent basis. But nowhere do I see anything warning women about the dangers of using senna, a laxative, on a regular basis.
And what about the meal replacement shakes?
Meal replacement shakes are not an effective long-term solution. No one can rely on replacing one meal a day with a shake for the rest of their lives, nor should they. There is no substitute for real, healthy food.
Not to mention that these ingredients are less than ideal. I personally don’t love pea or brown rice protein. First because they’re subpar forms of protein that can’t really compete with a good grass-fed whey or collagen protein – but they’re certainly cheaper to produce.
Also, there are a LOT of ingredients in this shake. Several of which I find questionable.
The addition of carcinia gambogia, an appetite suppressant, is also problemtaic. You know what hunger is? Your body’s way of telling you that it needs nutrients. When we silence that signaling, it’s completely unhealthy. Our bodies need nutrients from healthy, real food!
My biggest issue comes from the synthetic vitamins. Not only are synthetic vitamins difficult to the body to digest, some can cause serious damage. Folic acid, the synthetic form of folate, is particularly problematic. It has even been linked to cancer via numerous studies:
…in the Journal of the American Medical Association — suggesting that all the extra folic acid might increase your odds of developing cancer. “The more we learn about folic acid, the more it’s clear that giving it to everyone has very real risks,” says folic acid researcher David Smith, PhD, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford in England.
Another study out of Chile linked folic acid supplementation with an increased risk of colon cancer.
And yet another study out of Norway linked folic acid supplementation with a 21% increase in lung caner.
Folic acid and B12 supplementation was associated with a 21% increased risk for cancer, a 38% increased risk for dying from the disease, and an 18% increase in deaths from all causes.
While folate is a necessary part of a balanced diet, folic acid has actually been linked to increased rates of cancer (another source for ya).
FOLIC ACID AND MTHFR GENE MUTATION
You may have heard of the MTHFR gene mutation; it’s gaining more popularity and more and more people are getting tested for variants. This gene provides instructions for making methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase which is crucial to processing amino acids and converting folate into its usable form (source).
It’s been estimated that 40% of the population has an MTHFR variant which makes people completely inept at absorbing folic acid! Dr. Will Cole has a great article on MTHFR you can check out here. Basically, if you have an MTHFR variant, which many people do, you are more likely to not only have issues absorbing and utilizing folic acid, but also have difficulty with proper blood clotting, effective detoxification, problems with pregnancy, more prone to neural tube defects, heart disease, etc (source).
And this is what’s in these shakes.
HERE IS THE TRUTH.
You don’t need a flat tummy. A flat tummy won’t magically fix your problems. It won’t get you a boyfriend or land you your dream job.
We all want to look good. But your #1 motivation has to be your health.
I’ve worked with hundreds of clients. I will not take on a client that wants to lose weight for any other reason than being the healthiest, happiest version of themselves. Want to lose weight for your wedding? I’m not for you. Want to lose weight for vacation? I feel you, but I’m not going to help you do that.
Because what happens once the wedding is over? What happens once you’re back from vacation? You go back to your old habits and you’re back at square one.
Health has to be the main objective. That is the only path to lasting, safe, healthy weight loss. If it’s not, if you have some superficial reason for wanting to get in shape – I guarantee at some point you will find yourself back in your unhealthy eating habits.
But if you think, I’ve had enough of feeling tired and sluggish. I want to feel vibrant in my skin. I want to run around with my kids. I want to be happy everyday. I want to love myself and give my body the nutrition it deserves…Then that is a lasting lifestyle change. And that’s all that’s going to work for you.
Not a tea, not a fad diet, not a meal replacement shake. Day in and day out of eating healthy, nutritious, delicious food. Moving your body. Getting enough sleep. Keeping stress low. This is health. This is what should motivate you. Not a flat tummy. That may come after, but it shouldn’t be your main focus.
Don’t allow companies like this to prey on you and your insecurity or desire for “the perfect body.” The perfect body doesn’t exist. We’re all different and beautifully unique. Treat your body with the health and respect it deserves. You’re so much more than taking laxatives for a flat tummy, my loves.
This marketing is deceptive, it preys upon women’s insecurities and it’s simply not healthy. Women are more than our flat tummies. We are mothers. We are cunning. We are hard workers. We are strong. We are independent. We are smart. We are warriors. We are beautiful.