I saw that a lot of body positive people weren't happy this week because of Kim Kardashian promoting those appetite suppressant lollipops. I was just wondering what your opinion on them is? Do you think they work and do you think it was wrong of her to promote them?
Let's get straight to the point: these lollipops are nothing more than the latest bullshit invention of the diet industry, selling hollow promises of happiness through weight loss, then delivering nothing but disappointment. And thanks to Kim Kardashian's promotion of them, they've probably already made a killing.
There are two things we need to talk about to see just how messed up this whole lollipop saga is: the concept and the product itself. Let's start with the concept of appetite suppressant supplements.
Selling people the idea that their hunger should be ignored is harmful af. Because the underlying message here is that eating actual food when you're hungry is somehow sinful. That 'giving in' to a signal your body sends to ensure your survival makes you a failure. That denying your body the nourishment it's clearly asking for is the key to changing your body – and by association, changing it to be more like a Kardashian.
What the lollipop packet won't tell you is that every time your body lets you know that it's hungry and you ignore it, you get further away from your ability to eat intuitively. Rather than being able to tune into your needs, eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full, you'll lose your sense of satiety and will more than likely fall into a pattern of restricting followed by overeating. Because that's how the diet cycle goes. Ignoring your hunger for long periods of time is a one-way ticket to messing up your relationship with food.
The normalisation of substituting actual food for appetite suppressants and demonising hunger also looks seriously familiar to those of us who've suffered with eating disorders. These kind of 'tips' and 'tricks' for avoiding eating echo through pro-ana sites where the best products are discussed and people compete over who can suppress their appetite the longest. And sure, neither Kim nor the website selling the lollipops are suggesting replacing meals with them, but don't you think people still will? Especially the audience that is most susceptible to eating disorders already and comprises a huge portion of Kim's following: teenage girls.
What makes this product particularly offensive is the fact that it's diet culture hiding behind a snack primarily consumed by children. Lollipops are fun! Lollipops are innocent! They're not the same as popping a pill or even drinking a detox tea, they're totally harmless! I can see them being shared around the playground as I type this. But as many people commented on Kim's Instagram post – I wonder if she would feel comfortable giving these lollipops to her own children when they tell her that they're hungry. Yeah, exactly.
For the record: your appetite does not need to be suppressed. You are allowed to listen to your hunger. You are allowed to eat. Food is not the enemy and your body is deserving of nourishment no matter your size or how you feel about yourself. And even if you don't believe that right now, you should probably read this next part before blowing your money on these things.
Let's talk about the lollipops themselves. They retail at £36 for a two month supply, which is 56 lollipops. You can buy a pack of 50 Chupa Chup lollipops for £8 on Amazon. So given how pricey the appetite suppressing version is, they must have some seriously magical key ingredient guaranteed to keep our hunger at bay, right?
If you go on Flat Tummy Co.'s website (yes, this is the same company that sells laxative filled detox teas that promise to “get your tummy back to looking tight + toned!”... After a night on the toilet), you'll see that the key ingredient is something called Satiereal, which is derived from saffron.
Head over to the Satiereal website and you'll see the extract being promoting as “clinically proven to manage appetite and reduce compulsive snacking”. Of course, being the diet culture vigilante that I am, I know this usually means one thing, and sure enough once I looked up this “clinically proven” result, I found exactly what I thought I would...
The study being used as proof that this stuff works was entirely funded by Inoreal Ltd: the company that makes it in the first place. In other words, the study aiming to show whether the extract works as an appetite suppressant was completely paid for by the people who stand to make millions if the result comes out a certain way. As a great prophet once said: WHOOMP THERE IT IS.
These kind of conflicts of interest are rife in diet industry and obesity research, and they cast a serious shadow on how trustworthy the results of a study are. If you put enough money into it, you could probably 'clinically prove' just about anything you like. And because I knew where to look, I was able to find all that in about 5 minutes. Unfortunately most of the people following Kim Kardashian probably won't go looking before they click buy.
And let's not forget that whether these lollipops 'work' or not, they represent a hugely irresponsible and dangerous message to be selling to 111 million followers.
So there you go L, that's my breakdown of lollipop-gate. And if anyone would like to start a pool for what ridiculous invention the diet industry will come up with next, let me know. My money's on cotton-candy scented cellulite reducing temporary tattoos.
Love & bopo,
P.S. If you like this column and want more advice like this, I wrote a whole book of it! You can find Body Positive Power here.