Kim Kardashian West is well-known for divulging details of her dieting antics on social media. But an Instagram ad for appetite suppressant lollipops, shared with her 111 million followers on Wednesday, has come under fire for promoting a “harmful” message.
Kardashian West shared a photo of herself with a lollipop in her mouth and wrote in the caption: “You guys… @flattummyco just dropped a new product. They’re Appetite Suppressant Lollipops and they’re literally unreal.” She urged fans to take advantage of an offer, adding: “If you want to get your hands on some... you need to do it quick!”
Within hours of being shared, the post had been slammed by celebrities, nutritionists and charities alike. Jameela Jamil took to Twitter to brand Kardashian West a “terrible and toxic influence on young girls”, while eating disorder charity Beat told HuffPost UK it believes that widely promoting such products is “harmful”.
On Wednesday evening, the controversial post was “mistakenly” removed by Instagram, but it has since been reinstated. A spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: “We mistakenly removed content we shouldn’t have and apologised to Kim for the inconvenience caused.”
According to the Flat Tummy Co website, the lollipops contain an ingredient called SATIEREAL, made up of saffron extract, which works to “maximise satiety, which helps control food intake, cravings and weight”.
In the small print, however, the website states that none of its claims have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration in the US.
Discussing the product, registered nutritionist Laura Thomas told HuffPost: “Kim Kardashian West has an enormous responsibility to protect her audience, which is likely to be full of young people vulnerable to troubled relationships with food. She should be held accountable as she’s promoting disordered eating and not clearly communicating the risk associated with the products she’s pushing.”
Tom Quinn, Director of External Affairs for eating disorders charity Beat, told HuffPost that “eating disorders are mental illnesses with complex causes, so it is unlikely that this product would be the sole and direct reason for someone developing one”.
He added: “However, we know that appetite suppressants are used by people with restrictive eating disorders like anorexia, and feel it is harmful to widely distribute and promote such products.”
Correction: This article and headline was updated on Thursday to reflect that Instagram “mistakenly deleted” and reinstated the post.
Useful websites and helplines: