In the 21st century, body image has become a leger focus than ever before, and the most common aspect of body image to focus on is weight. With around half of all Americans saying they are trying to lose weight, and 38% of UK adults doing the same, there has been a huge market for diet products, and the brands behind these products have realised that the best way to advertise these products is by getting those who many of us look to as inspiration for the ‘ideal body’ to show them off: celebrities.



Some of the most influential stars in today's day and age, many  of whom have sections of their fan bases made entirely up of influential young girls, have promoted  series of ‘toxic’ and ‘harmful’ diet products. Stars such as Kim Kardashan (who boasts 148 million followers to date), Iggy Azalea (13.3 million followers), Cardi B (51.6 million followers) and Khloe Kardashian (98.8 million followers) and many more have all promoted detox-teas, meal replacement shakes and appetite suppressants on their social media accounts; these products have been branded as ‘toxic’, ‘too good to be true’ and ‘damaging’. The rise in the use of these products can be put down to celebrity promotion and the issue with this is that those who see the advertisement are led to believe that the diet product is the reason the celebrities body looks the way it does, where in reality, their body is a result of exercise, a changed lifestyle, photo angles, personal trainers, and often plastic surgery. Consumers often forget that celebrities are paid to hold a product and leave a link for their followers to purchase from, rather than actually use the product and display its effects. These ads also often involve celebrities in underwear, bikinis or revealing sportswear, highlighting their figures and serving as something of a subliminal message that in order to look like this ‘perfect’ woman, you need to invest in a diet product.




With these celebrity promotions has come criticism, from both the public and other influential figures, most notably, actress Jameela Jamil, who, through her constand advocacy against these fad diet products, has helped in pushing Instagram and Facebook to announce that age restrictions will be introducing age-restrictions on posts that promote content related to diet products. In January, reality TV star Lucy ecklenburgh warned her followers of the dangers of detox teas, urging them to avoid them, claiming products ‘could become very harmful to your health and mental health’ and that most of them ‘will just make you go to the toilet’.



It is not just other influencers that put down the use of these products, but health professionals. The medical director for NHS England has claimed that celebrity-endorsed adverts for weight loss products should be banned on social media due to the dangers they pose from not just their usage, but the psychological damage created for those experiencing issues with body image.



Professor Stephen Powis has claimed that celebrities who promote diet products are ‘letting down the very people who look up to them’ and once again contribute to body image issues faced by so many today. has brought awareness to the fact that ‘weight loss pills may be approved for use but that doesn’t guarantee its safety’ and that the only weight loss aids that are both safe and effective to use are those that have been prescribed by a doctor, any others need to be approved by a doctor first.



Though these products can be harmful when used, the advertisements themselves can also be incredibly damaging to mental health; Victoria Schwartz, chief medical officer of the Jed Foundation, a mental health organisation, says: ‘ads or communications that show someone who appears very thin and are suggesting ‘magical’ ways to be super thin can create unreasonable and dangerous expectations about what is a normal or health appearance and how one gets there’, she claims that when people cannot achieve a certain level of thinness, they feel like a ‘failure’.



Celebrities are now being urged to take care when accepting paid promotions of these products, to consider their audience and how they may be impacted by seeing such products promoted and by being reminded of the tremendous influence they have and how it can be better used.