If you spend a lot of time on Instagram or in the general world, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a major problem with the way we talk about diet, weight loss, and “wellness” in general. This isn’t one simple problem, but rather an entire culture that needs to shift. (If you want more details, try listening to our entire Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast.) But one of the biggest issues on Instagram is the way that influencers promote diet and weight loss products with no regard for what actually works, and what messages could be harmful to their audience. Well, Jameela Jamil is working with Instagram to make some important changes.
Jameela Jamil has long been a crusader for more honest practices around wellness products, particularly on social media. She’s repeatedly called out people like the Kardashians for misleading ads and comments glorifying unhealthy weight loss tactics. Earlier this year, she launched a change.org petition to Instagram to “Stop celebrities promoting toxic diet products on social media,” and she got over 200,000 signatures.
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THIS IS HUGE NEWS. @i_weigh are changing the world together. After a bunch of shouting, screaming, and petitioning… we have managed to get the attention of the people at the top, and they have heard us and want to protect us. And this is just the beginning of our efforts. As of now, if you’re under 18, you will no longer be exposed to any diet/detox products, and for all other ages; all fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims will be taken down and easy to report. I’ve been working with Instagram all year towards this, who were amazing to deal with, and they expressed that they passionately care about creating a safer space for us all online. This happened so much faster than I expected and I’m so proud and happy and relieved. WELL DONE to the many people who have been working towards this huge change. This is a mass effort. This is an extraordinary win that is going to make a big difference. Influencers have to be more responsible. ❤️
Instagram saw the same issues as Jameela Jamil, so they’ve now worked with her to institute two new policies dealing with diet products.
-“If a post promotes a weight loss product or cosmetic procedure and has a price tag fixed to it, users who are younger than 18-years-old will be prohibited from viewing the post.”
-“Any content that makes a ‘miraculous claim’ about diet or weight loss products . So, for example, if an influencer posts a picture of themselves sipping diet tea, promoting their discount code, and telling their followers how they managed to lose 10lbs rapidly solely due to the tea, it will be removed for violating the new community guidelines.”
Before I get into anything else, let me just state the obvious: both of these are great policies, and it’s an important step toward creating a better culture. I just have some questions, and I’ll be honest that I’m a little skeptical of how well these rules will actually work.
I’m extremely happy that Instagram is specifically taking measures to shield teens and kids from the harmful messages of weight loss posts. From increasingly young ages, people in our world are taught to feel bad about their bodies, and it needs to stop. Even recently, we’ve seen huge controversy over WW’s decision to launch a weight loss app aimed at kids. The sentiment behind the 18-and-under policy is great, but it sounds like the only way they’re going about this is through posts that use the shopping feature (hence the “price tag” language). I invite you to scroll through the feeds of some influencers and look at their weight loss ads. None of them use the price tag feature. You have to start somewhere, but I have my doubts that this rule is actually going to do anything. Sadly, companies that want to target minors will just get smarter about their specific tactics to skirt the guidelines.
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#ad Ok you guys… I’ve been putting in work, adding in @flattummyco meal replacement shakes and I’m seriously feeling so good. My energy is up, my cravings are controlled and I actually feel like I’m a total tummy knockout. You need to go check them out while their 30% OFF sale is on. Ps: how CUTE is this shaker bottle?!
For example, here’s an ad that Khloé Kardashian (Jameela Jamil’s enemy #1) recently did for Flat Tummy Tea. It’s obviously an ad, but she doesn’t use the shopping/price tag feature, though she uses #ad, which adheres with FCC guidelines. Does the 18-and-under rule even apply to this?
While I’m really unsure about the implementation of the first new policy, the second one has its own set of concerns. According to Jameela’s own words, “all fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims will be taken down and easy to report.” Again, an excellent goal, but the implementation is where it gets tricky. From Instagram’s wording, I gather that they’ve just updated the community guidelines to make these things technically against the rules, so there are grounds to report these posts. There’s no Instagram bot that’s going to automatically detect these posts and remove them, because that would be basically impossible. How do you quantify a “fad” product? Flat Tummy Tea is an easy one, but what about chunky dad sneakers? I mean, those are a fad, just saying.
Despite all the problematic effects of posts making false claims about weight loss, censorship is a slippery slope. The nature of weight loss and dieting is that everything works differently for different people, so there’s a fine line between a claim that seems unlikely and something that is categorically false. While I’m not buying that Khloé got a whole new body by sipping diarrhea tea, I can’t say with 100% certainty that it didn’t do anything for her. With this in mind, it’s probably for the best that Instagram’s new policy will rely on self-reporting, so people can judge for themselves what crosses the line.
Overall, I’m excited about the changes that Instagram is making, because we shouldn’t have to live in a world of fake weight loss products and Photoshop fails forever. But as with anything, change takes time, and I’m looking forward to seeing Jameela Jamil continue to work with Instagram to tweak and expand these rules to address the full breadth of the issues. Someday, we might actually be in the good place.
Images: Shutterstock; jameelajamilofficial, khloekardashian / Instagram
The evil monsters behind Flat Tummy Co that we love to hate are at it again, but this time they’re targeting the group that is perhaps the most vulnerable and least deserving of being targeted by this sort of sh*t: pregnant women. That’s right, Flat Tummy Co’s greed couldn’t be satiated by exploiting non-pregnant women’s insecurities and passing their crap off as health products. They had to go so far as to make women carrying actual human life feel insecure about not having a flat stomach. They’ve definitely faced continuous backlash for their sh*t, though, including from our favorite dietician Tracy Lockwood Beckerman (an actual professional who knows how horrible this stuff based on her actual scientific expertise), who spoke about it on the latest episode of the Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast. Here’s everything she says we need to know about why Flat Tummy Co’s “Organic Pregnancy Tea” isn’t actually safe for pregnant women, or really anyone for that matter, and how the internet is freaking out about it.
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#ad You guys all know I looove @flattummyco shakes. I’ve just restarted them (it’s Day 2 today) and I’m already feeling so good. We had a huuuuge Christmas this year and between that, New Years and everything inbetween… I felt like it was impossible to fit in my regular work outs and eat healthy. But this program is giving me a kick in the right direction that I need. These meal replacement shakes are so good and they’re helping me get my tummy back to flat. I’m already feeling amazing and I’m so excited for the next few weeks. Because they’re all about getting women back on track… they’ve got a 20% off sale going on right now, so if you want to start 2019 off right… trust me, you’re going to want to check them out. PS. I’m doing the chocolate program?
don’t follow any of the Kardashians aren’t familiar with Flat Tummy’s regular antics, they are known for marketing their fake healthy products via sponsored Instagram posts by celebrities with large female followings, such as Real Housewives and the Kardashians. What a clever marketing strategy!!! Make women think celebrities’ impossibly flat stomachs are thanks to a tea they can buy themselves, and not the personal chefs and trainers and doctors that only the wealthy can afford! Social media has already made beauty standards for women unrealistically high, so why not just perpetuate lies and make them even unhealthily higher?! Hahahaha everything is so great over here in womanhood. What’s even crazier is the fact that they used Amber Rose, who actually is pregnant right now, to promote their pregnancy tea and try to convince people that it actually is healthy to use while pregnant.
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#ad Okay listen up @flattummyco just launched an Organic Pregnancy Tea to help us moms with those bloated, nauseous, blah feeling days! It’s safe to take while pregnant and breastfeeding. This is not a detox tea – it’s specially designed to help reduce occasional nausea and support digestion during pregnancy – haters stop riding the bandwagon and think for yourselves.
Luckily Jameela Jamil, who’s been the one to call the Kardashians out for taking advantage of their audience just to get that Flat Tummy money, stepped in here as well. “FLAT TUMMY PRODUCTS FOR… PREGNANT WOMEN? Is this FDA approved? Are we… fucking… KIDDING? @US_FDA,” she tweeted with a screenshot of Amber Rose’s Instagram post.
I’m sorry, but isn’t the idea of a Flat Tummy pregnancy tea a little bit of an oxymoron? If there is one time in your life you probably aren’t going to have a flat tummy, it’s when you are pregnant. Are we really now trying to force the necessity of a flat stomach on literal pregnant women?! I can’t. I’ve truly seen it all.
But not only are these bullsh*t teas harmful to body image and don’t do what they say they do, they can actually make you physically sick. Beckerman says the “detox teas” are literally just LAXATIVES. Even worse, once you start drinking them, you physically will not be able to go to the bathroom without them. Which makes perfect sense from a money-hungry marketing standpoint, because then you just have to keep buying more! The truth is, these companies don’t give a sh*t about your wellbeing, but you certainly will be giving a lot of it when you’re running to the bathroom every five minutes after using their products.
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#ad If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been doing… I’ve been out here working my a** off. I’ve been working out and using @flattummyco meal replacement shakes to help me get my tummy back to where it was. I know it’s not going to be an easy journey, but I’m feeling SO ready to do this and after using the shakes, I’m feeling really good and definitely feeling the difference. Baby weight is no joke! If you’re wanting to try them you should get on it because there’s a 20% off sale going on right now!
Knowing what the ingredients in Flat Tummy products actually do, Beckerman explains, “What you’re doing to your body in taking this tea is a laxative-like effect on you. It’s making you feel dizzy, it’s making you feel lethargic, you’re dehydrated, your electrolytes are imbalanced. You feel sh*tty, you’re gonna lay down, you may even get the sweats and you don’t feel good,” which is what happens to a healthy person who doesn’t have a bun in the oven when they drink the tea. Imagine how it would affect someone who’s pregnant: “Now you’re immunocompromised, you’re carrying a child, and your system doesn’t work to take care of mom ‘cause it’s taking care of baby, so mom could pass out.” The cherry on top is that THEY AREN’T EVEN FDA APPROVED. To be fair, no supplements are FDA approved, because they are not evaluated by the FDA. But still, Beckerman states, “They did a recall of over 400 supplements in the last 10 years because… They had other things like weight loss stimulants that have been taken off the market for years because they cause heart attacks.”
When Tracy called Flat Tummy out for their unethical sh*t on her Instagram, they replied to a comment on her post! Someone pointed out that their website literally said that the Organic Pregnancy Tea isn’t actually safe for pregnant women, to which they responded in a comment (that they later deleted) that said their website was in the process of being updated.
I’m sorry, but what kind of credible website selling “health products” doesn’t have accurate information ready about whether or not it’s healthy to take their products? Everyone, I beg of you, save yourself from the ridiculousness these greed machines are trying to force on us and realize that you and your baby will be better off without this bullsh*t. We all will be.
To hear more about the Flat Tummy hoax, listen to Diet Starts Tomorrow below.
Images: freestocks.org / Unsplash; kimkardashian / Instagram; amberrose / Instagram; khloekardashian / Instagram