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Jameela Jamil Is Calling out the Kardashians for Endorsing Dangerous Weight-Loss Products—and It’s Working

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Actress Jameela Jamil is demanding ethical responsibility from celebrities like the Kardashians, who are getting paid thousands of dollars on Instagram to endorse dangerous weight-loss products, like "detox" teas... and she's not shy about it.


For you and me, Instagram is most likely a place to share photos and life updates with friends—but for influencers and celebrities with large followings, it’s a money-making opportunity. Brands pay big money for sponsored posts from these influencers which appear on our feeds as organic-looking endorsements.

Jameela Jamil—British actress and activist—has one message for these powerful influencers: she’s watching them.

Amongst her other activist efforts, Jamil is using her platform to take a stand against influencers who use their fame and notoriety on Instagram to make money by endorsing potentially dangerous products—specifically, detox shakes and teas.

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If you’re a lucky Instagram user who hasn’t seen an ad for a detox tea or shake, here’s an overview:

The appeal of these detox teas and shakes are simple: drink me and magically be thin. As endorsed by a variety of celebrities on Instagram—most notably, the Kardashian family—these teas are capitalizing on the promise of weight loss through the “clean, healthy” form of detox.

 

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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🍫

A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on

The tiny font under her name that reads “Paid partnership with flattummyco” and the “#ad” are the only indication that suggests that Kim Kardashian’s raving endorsement might not be all that genuine. Her caption, on the other hand, reads otherwise:

#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 in between… I felt like it was impossible to fit in my regular workouts 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🍫

Despite promises of easy weight loss through a healthy tea, “detoxing” has become a convenient euphemism for what these products really are: glorified, and potentially harmful, laxative-based, weight loss supplements.

The main culprits? Skinny Mint, SkinnyMe, Flat Tummy Tea, Slendertoxtea, Bootea and Skinny Teatox.

“The weight loss [from detox teas] is primarily, and probably all, water weight,” Dr. Karin Kratina, a nationally recognized nutrition therapist, tells Teen Vogue. “If true weight loss occurs, it is because a caloric deficit also occurred from a change in eating habits.”

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The nighttime tea, described as the “cleansing and detoxification tea” is where brands claim that the “detoxification,” happens. But in reality, “detoxification” is a code for, “Get ready to poop… a lot.” This is largely due to senna root and leaf. Senna is an FDA-approved laxative used to treat constipation and clear the bowels of patients pre-colonoscopy. It works by irritating the colon to empty its contents and is known as a “stimulant” laxative. There’s no doubt that after emptying the contents of your intestines, you might feel a bit lighter. But this laxative process isn’t usually quick or painless. Users find warnings like “ensure you have ready access to a toilet during the day until you know how your body reacts to the tea” on nighttime detox teas.

While Jamil has been speaking out against these dangerous endorsements for some time now, she got the attention of many after posting this parody ad to her own Instagram account:

 

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If influencers and celebrities were actually honest with us about some of these Slimming/detox products… #itburns

A post shared by Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamilofficial) on

In addition to this playful callout, Jamil has been vocal about speaking against these dangerous endorsements from trusted and admired celebrities, and the danger that they pose for impressionable, young followers.

“I was the teenager who starved herself for years, who spent all her money on these miracle cures and laxatives and tips from celebrities on how to maintain a weight that was lower than what my body wanted it to be…” Jamil has shared. “I was sick, I have had digestion and metabolism problems for life.”

CONTENT WARNING: explicit language used in the video below.

 

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A post shared by Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamilofficial) on

Her most recent win was when Khloe Kardashian actually removed an ad for the detox on her account after receiving overwhelming backlash—starting with a scathing comment from Jamil, herself. The since-removed post and comment can still be seen on accounts who screenshotted the dialogue:

 

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Tea, for lack of a better word. #CommentsByCelebs

A post shared by Comments By Celebs (@commentsbycelebs) on

Kim Kardashian, however, expressed little interest in the potentially dangerous effects of her endorsements, prioritizing the financial reward. When speaking about the finical motivations behind some of her Insta ads, Kim explained, “If there is work that is really easy that doesn’t take away from our kids, that’s like a huge priority, if someone was faced with the same job opportunities, I think they would maybe consider. You’re going to get backlash for almost everything so as long as you like it or believe in it or it’s worth it financially, whatever your decision may be, as long as you’re O.K. with that.”

In other words, easy money (despite the potential consequences) is too good to pass. Kim Kardashian currently has 133M followers.

“I was the teenager who starved herself for years, who spent all her money on these miracle cures and laxatives and tips from celebrities on how to maintain a weight that was lower than what my body wanted it to be…I was sick, I have had digestion and metabolism problems for life.”

Even Kris Jenner, the Kardashian “momager” has endorsed the tea:

…to which Jamil commented:

Flat Tummy Co side effects are cramping, stomach pains, diarrhea and dehydration and it can impact contraception users. Eat fruit and veg to fill up and feel good kids. It’s cheaper and safer than a non-FDA approved powder over the internet. It’s madness that these celebrities aren’t forced by @Instagram to post the side effects of these dangerous products.”

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When she’s not getting confrontational with laxative-endorsing celebrities, Jamil is putting her efforts to running her organization @i_weigh, a “movement for us to feel valuable and see how amazing we are beyond the flesh on our bones.”

She constantly uses her personal account to call out unhealthy industry practices and to share inspirational truths for women and men:

Now, Jamil has set her sights on a bigger prize: enforcing Instagram to put official laws and boundaries around these types of endorsements that would require things like listing side effects.

Her petition on change.org reads:

“In the last few years, we have seen a scary rise in the marriage of celebrity and diet/detox endorsement. There’s little to no information about the side effects or main ingredients, the harm they may cause or any of the science behind how these products are supposed to work. They are instead, flogged in glossy paid adverts by celebrities and influencers with no expertise or authority in nutrition/medicine/biology.

Quick-fix weight loss is never the answer and the risks far outweigh the benefits. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Celebrities who promote and endorse weight loss aids for payment, do so because brands have realized how influential their posts are with young people. As reported by the BBC, top doctors are now asking that celebrity ads for diet aids be banned by social media companies.  

Powder over the internet can’t make you look like a celebrity who has a personal trainer, a chef, a surgeon and who uses photoshop. This is false and irresponsible advertising and it is part of a pervasive and disturbing rhetoric that preys upon eating disordered behaviour and the new trend of “quick fix” that relies upon a naive and vulnerable customer who is not educated as to the full list of health implications these products and diet restrictions can bring. I’m calling on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat to stop these being posted by celebrities.

We put the health risks on cigarettes and all drugs, and yet nobody is forced to do the same with these products, in spite of thousands of medical professionals speaking out about the harm and pseudo-science of it all. Please help me take the first step in dismantling this nonsense new culture by stopping those with the most influence from being able to freely spread lies and irresponsible, ignorant nonsense, to their vulnerable young followers.

With eating disorder numbers at an all-time high, and as a former teenage anorexic who was very much so influenced by celebrities, I understand the importance of having good people around you. That’s why in 2018 I created The I Weigh Community which values people on their achievements and attributes rather than what they weigh or how they look. It aims to make connections and be an ally to other activists and communities.

Join our revolution against shame – Please share the petition with the hashtag #nomoredetoxscams on social media and sign up to www.iweighcommunity.com

So influencers, the next time you receive an offer for a paid Instagram endorsement deal, remember this: Jameela Jamil is watching you—demanding accountability and ethical responsibility. And she’s ready to pounce…

“Waiting for someone to sell a weight-loss product to teenagers like…”

 

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Waiting for someone to sell a weight-loss product to teenagers like…

A post shared by Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamilofficial) on