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Blended teas often resemble slushies and other colorful iced drinks.

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If there existed a beverage that promised to give you lasting energy and vitality, to help you lose weight and to make you healthier, would you drink it? That’s exactly what is promised by loaded tea, a trendy beverage coming into popularity due to aesthetically pleasing photos on Instagram and influencer endorsements

Might we suggest heeding the old adage: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Scary anecdotes about extreme jitters, high blood pressure, flushed skin and other symptoms that occur after drinking loaded teas have bubbled to the surface on social media. 

Case in point — I logged on to my Facebook a few weeks ago and the first post on my timeline was a horror story. A friend of a friend found herself in the emergency room after drinking a loaded tea. She had the shakes, her skin was flushed and her heart was racing. The ER nurse informed her that her blood pressure was dangerously high due to caffeine. 

So what exactly is loaded tea and why are people devoted to it? Is it really that dangerous? I explore those questions and more below.

What is loaded tea? 

Loaded tea is a concoction of ingredients all mixed up into one colorful, visually appealing drink that promises to give you energy, boost your productivity, rev your metabolism and help you reach all your wildest health and fitness goals.  

The trendy teas are “caffeinated, supplemented energy beverages, part multi-vitamin and part mystery and colorful craftiness — which is why I think it has a bit of a cult following and has created buzz,” says Dr. Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, a sports dietitian and certified personal trainer. 

Writer Shannon Ashley, who investigated loaded teas, noted that “people love the loaded teas and shakes because they feel they work well for controlling their hunger and cravings or for giving them lots of energy.”  

As a result, Ashley writes, “these drinks might help people lose weight, but the real question is what else these supplements do to the body.”

Who makes loaded tea?

Perhaps the most popular maker of loaded tea is Herbalife, a company that’s been investigated and studied in the past for potential health complications and consumer fraud

Herbalife is a multilevel marketing company that profits off of independent consultants who sign up to sell the product. These consultants often open brick-and-mortar nutrition shops to sell Herbalife products and don’t always disclose what they’re…