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Kim Kardashian regularly promotes weight-loss supplements on Instagram — the platform she also uses to update fans on her weight and her 24-inch waist. But after her latest sponsored post, some followers thought she'd gone too far.
The Keeping Up With The Kardashians star posted a photo of herself licking a lollipop, which is marketed as an appetite suppressant, and was accused of encouraging young women to starve themselves rather than eat a healthy meal.
British radio host Jameela Jamil, who has her own campaign around body positivity in the U.K., described Kim as a “terrible and toxic influence on young girls” and took to Twitter to say the post was ridiculous.
“Maybe don't take appetite suppressors and eat enough to fuel your brain and work hard and be successful,” Jameela wrote. “And to have something to say about your life at the end, other than 'I had a flat stomach.’”
She added: “I admire their mother's branding capabilities, she is an exploitative but innovative genius, however this family makes me feel actual despair over what women are reduced to.”
The candy Kim is is promoting is from Flat Tummy Co., which sells diet products, including other appetite suppressants like tea. The lollipops are supposed to be eaten when people want to lose weight and are experiencing food cravings. It’s not clear what Kim was paid for the post, although in 2016, she was reportedly pulling in $400,000 per sponsored ad.
But on this particular post, Kim was met with thousands of comments about taking money for encouraging poor eating habits and low self-esteem among young women.
“Eating disorders are a very real issue for a lot of young people and to see Kim Kardashian actively encouraging her fans to develop an unhealthy relationship with food is terrifying and gravely concerning,” English activist and C.E.O. of anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label, Liam Hackett, tweeted.
Another commenter wrote, “It's imperative that we step back and remember that an influencer as big as Kim Kardashian are making $$$$$$ per #ad and #spons post. With every flat tummy tea, lollipop, magical weight-loss trick promoted, there's someone with disordered eating thinking they need it.”
“Especially for her target audience, who look up to her and probably want to have her body, she didn’t get her body by eating lollipops,” Condell says, adding: “A quick search of the active ingredient show there is no change in body composition, no evidence for that it would cause you to lose weight.”
Instead she recommends eating protein and fiber together as a “natural suppressant.”
“You’re more satiated,” Tara says. “But fiber isn’t as sexy or marketable as appetite suppressant.”
On the company's website, the lollipop is listed as having the ingredient satiereal, which gives you a “satiated” feeling. The company claims it is a “clinically proven safe active ingredient extracted from natural plants. It works to maximize satiety (which helps control food intake, cravings and weight. So with one to two pops per day, you'll have your hunger under control and cravings in check.”
Karen Moreno, founder of Diets By Karen based in New York City, says, "Eating a lollipop such as this one is just another bandwagon people like to hop on."
"The best way to lose weight is ditch the lollipop and grab an apple. Apples are filled with antioxidants flavonoids and fiber which can help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease— that’s more than you can say about a lollipop," she says. "Let’s teach the younger generation that’s watching Kim that instead of trying to find shortcuts you need to eat right, hit the gym, and actually take care of your body. There are no shortcuts here."
Kim deleted the Instagram post after a few hours, after catching wind of the backlash.
The initial post read: “You guys... @flattummyco just dropped a new product. They're Appetite Suppressant Lollipops and they're literally unreal.” It included a promo code for 15 percent off.
Any health-related information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, or before embarking on any diet, exercise, or wellness program.
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