Instagram and Facebook ban adverts and sponsored posts involving weight loss products. What does this mean for diet culture?

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A couple of weeks ago, Instagram finally banned the promotion of ‘miracle’ diet products, much to the relief of anti-diet influencers who have been campaigning and reporting these products relentlessly. The new regulations will hide some posts for under 18s and others that claim to provide miracle fat loss will be banned entirely.

There has been much criticism around the advertisement of these types of products especially as the big names, such as the Kardashians, began to the jump on the bandwagon of being made to promote useless and overpriced products including teas, shakes and foods. Kim Kardashian advertised appetite suppressant lollipops (the first ingredient listed was sugar) back in May last year for Flat Tummy Co. Jameela Jamil responded angrily (go her) that Kim was a ‘terrible and toxic influence on young girls’ via Twitter. This is a prime reason for why influencers get a bad name. The promotion of these products is purely prioritisation of income and freebies over morality and honesty to their loyal followers.

These products are incredibly misleading; they claim to cause weight loss and fat loss and have no scientific backing behind them. They are purely laxatives and teas in fancy packaging with a hefty price label. Worse still, they often have adverse health effects which include nausea, cramping, diarrhoea, constipation and even liver damage. Not to mention the impact on one’s mental health from being lured into these ridiculous products. 

Of course, if you drink only ‘skinny’ tea for two days, you are going to lose weight on the scales because you haven’t eaten anything. Your body will lose water weight quickly, which will give a flatter appearance on the stomach. But you are going to be starving and miserable. The weight loss will not be fat stores. This is not going to lead to sustainable or long-term fat loss.

The immorality behind the promotion of these products is alarming; often, those who want to lose weight are desperate and looking for a quick and easy fix. These products claim to provide that miracle solution, but the problem is they do not work and leave people in greater despair with their money spent on useless products.

Luckily, there is a growing number of Instagram accounts based around nutrition, fitness and body positivity including nutritionist Rhitrition, body positivist Jameela Jamil and Lucy Mountain who takes a NO BS (no-bullshit) approach to nutrition and fitness. These accounts are committed to educating the population on the truth about losing fat if necessary, as well as keeping fit and healthy. This is the combination of healthy, balanced eating and regular exercise. Hopefully, the banning of these ads will encourage more people, especially younger girls, to take a healthy and sustainable approach to life. And the pressure to lose weight won’t be shoved in their face (as much)!

Instagrams banning actions are only a small step, but we are heading in the right direction. These ads are now much easier to report  too if they are deemed to be going against the new regulations about their claims. With luck, more people will begin to see the sheer ridiculousness in these types of products and toxic diet culture can be suppressed instead of our healthy appetites. 

Jasmine Davis