Warning over 'appetite suppressant' lollipops advertised by Instagram celebrities as they send 'toxic' message to young girls

Helena Horton
Kim Kardashian posted a sponsored advertisement on Instagram in which she described the diet sweets as

Celebrities have come under fire from charities and campaigners for promoting appetite suppressants to their young, female followers on social media.

Kim Kardashian West, one of the most-followed celebrities on social media in the world, has been heavily criticised for her involvement in promoting "appetite suppressant" lollipops to her millions of followers, many of whom are young girls.

Under a photograph of herself sucking one of the diet sweets, she writes: "#ad, You guys, @flattummyco just dropped a new product. They're Appetite Suppressant Lollipops and they're literally unreal. They're giving the first 500 people on their website 15% OFF so if you want to get your hands on some...you need to do it quick!"

She finished her message by asking her followers to "#suckit".

The star's message was criticised by eating disorder charity Beat, which argues this message is potentially damaging to young women.

Beat’s Director of External Affairs, Tom Quinn, told The Telegraph: "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.

"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."

Body positivity campaigner and British actress Jameela Jamil also criticised the star, writing: "No. F--- off. No. You terrible and toxic influence on young girls. I admire their mother’s branding capabilities, she is an exploitative but innovative genius, however this family makes me feel actual despair over what women are reduced to."

Dr Liam Hackett, the founder and CEO of equality and anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label, tweeted: "Eating disorders are a very real issue for a lot of young people and to see Kim Kardashian actively encouraging her fans to develop an unhealthy relationship with food is terrifying and gravely concerning. " 

Jameela Jamil said the marketing was "terrible and toxic" Credit:  NBCUniversal

The lollipops are manufactured by Flat Tummy Co, which pays some of the most popular stars on Instagram large sums to market its "detox" teas, some of which contain a laxative, meal-replacement milkshakes, and lollipops, which contain an appetite suppressant. 

The pink packaging, and the fact the company refers to its customers as "babes", suggests the weight loss products are aimed predominantly at the young women who follow the Instagram celebrities.

Flat Tummy Co has been contacted for comment, as has Kim Kardashian West's company.

It has also come under fire for false advertising. In September last year, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) told the company to take down a post from Geordie Shore's Sophie Kasaei's Instagram.

The star wrote: "#ad Tummy Game Plan? You know it’s @flattummytea. Nothings [sic] gonna get you flat the same as this tea will. The excuses are in the past, much like the water weight I used to have."

The ASA upheld a complaint which challenged the implication that the tea could help with water weight.

It concluded that the posts violated CAP Code rules that marketing containing nutrition or health claims "must be supported by documentary evidence to show they meet the conditions of use associated with the relevant claim, as specified in the EU Register [of nutrition and health claims made on foods]".

The company said at the time that it was not aware of the register or the relevant regulation, and stated that it "did not hold scientific data to support their claims that the tea ingredients could help with water weight loss".