Warning: Eating disorders will be discussed in this post
Kim Kardashian promoted appetite suppressing lollipops on Instagram and the internet blew up – here’s why I think it’s a problem.
Note: I’m not a mental health professional, just someone with lived experience and lots of opinions. This blog post is simply my opinion. If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, please seek help from a professional.
The Kardashians are no strangers to promoting weight loss and slimming products, from waist trainers to detox teas, and now appetite suppressing lollipops. I found myself taken back when I saw Kim Kardashian West posted an ad for an appetite suppressing lollipop on her Instagram from the company Flat Tummy Co.
I went to the companies Instagram and was concerned to see only positive comments, and left one voicing my concern for those with eating disorders exploiting the product. I checked back to find that my comment had been deleted!
I consider companies like this one worse than the pro-ana accounts. The people running the pro-ana/mia pages are sick themselves, but to me, I feel like this product is exploiting people’s insecurities. People might argue, sometimes there are medical reasons to use appetite suppressants, but I don’t think that’s who the marketing is aimed at.
They also have meal replacement milkshakes which Kourtney Kardashian promotes for them. Skipping meals and trying to suppress your appetite to lose weight (with exceptions being people on medications with side effects such as increased hunger) are worrying symptoms of eating disorders. Last I checked, they suggest having two shakes a day. If I’m understanding correctly, their ideal meal plan is one meal a day, two milkshakes, and appetite suppressants! That doesn’t sound good to me.
Fitness content can be just as harmful as pro-ana and pro-mia content. Lots of people can and do have a perfectly healthy relationship with fitness and diet. But, a lot of the “fitspo” content repackages platitudes pro-ana communities use with different images. I’d imagine some of the creators and followers are actually struggling with orthorexia.
The fact that Flat Tummy Co deleted my comment, instead of defending their position, or even just leaving it there, is a huge red flag. I suspect others probably left similar comments to mine and had theirs removed too. I think they block people too so I’m fairly sure I’m blocked. I got some satisfaction from using the forum on their website to try communicate as I want to write an article about it, but surprise surprise, I didn’t hear back.
My fear is that vulnerable people with eating disorders will seek out and use these products. Sure, it’s not a brand’s fault, technically, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. They can’t control their customers, and if they go overboard with these products, but the fact that they exist at all really rubs me the wrong way. I think the decent thing to do, would have been to answer people’s concerns about eating disorders, instead of deleting comments.
The Kardashians/Jenners are considered to be some of the most beautiful women in the world with millions upon millions of followers, and tons of young impressionable girls looking up to them and trying to imitate their looks. Kim Kardashian has been heavily criticised for promoting the product.
Instagram deleted the post but she then put the image back up without the caption, and now the post has been restored and Instagram even apologised to her!
I’ve been let down by the reporting systems on Instagram. There’s been some really upsetting things I’ve reported, like animal abuse that didn’t get taken seriously. I even reported male nudity, which was apparently fine, but god forbid seeing women’s nipples. So, I’m not surprised by how this went down.
The Bottom Line On Why Diet Culture Lollipops Suck
I think it’s reckless to promote this product as it suggests having an appetite is a bad thing. Being hungry is our body’s way of telling us that it needs energy, and we get that energy from food.
Eating disorders are the most fatal mental illness. I think companies such as this one, and the celebrities who work with them, need to be mindful that a portion of their customers may be struggling with these illnesses. I just hope this product doesn’t become someone’s first step in developing an eating disorder, and causing irreparable damage to their body or worse; dying of it. I’m not being petty or dramatic – that’s how serious they are.
Stay strong if you have an eating disorder, and take care of your mental health.
If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, I’d encourage you to seek help from the following resources: