Toxic Teas: Jameela Jamil vs the Kardashians

British actress, model, presenter and activist, Jameela Jamil, has been making bold moves on a quest to prevent people consuming ‘detox teas’ that are sold by celebrities and influencers on Instagram. Here’s why we need to listen to her.

Illustration by Grace Biddle

With diet culture and the body positive movement in constant battle with each other, it’s important that we find our own balance amongst the chaos. It’s okay to want to tone your body, build strength and exercise more regularly – it’s also okay if you don’t. Just don’t get lost in these ‘quick fixes’ celebrities endorse for a lot of money.

‘Detox’ and/or weight loss products are being advertised by celebrities and influencers on Instagram. They promote the idea that a drink can make you lose weight in a healthy way. No side effects are ever listed on Instagram, leading consumers to believe that there aren’t any. We must remember that they are not FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved.

Aside from the damaging effects to our mental health, the diet and weight loss culture that these teas and meal supplement shakes perpetuate is of course harmful to our bodies too.

With ingredients such as laxatives, the reality is that these products often cause you diarrhea. People can develop problems such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) from abusing laxatives which they can then have for the rest of their lives.

The National Eating Disorders website explains the consequences of laxative abuse further:

“Disturbance of electrolyte and mineral balances, severe dehydration, internal organ damage and dependency.”

It has a physically toxic effect and thus we can be sure these celebrities are not drinking the teas and shakes themselves. The teas are a diuretic, causing increased passing of urine, due to being so high in caffeine meaning you’ll be losing water weight rather than actual fat which, again, leads to dehydration.

Khloe Kardashian endorses Flat Tummy ‘shakes’ and does not include the side effects in her posts.

Being physically healthy is not about how much weight you can lose in two weeks. It’s about exercising, keeping alcohol to a minimum and most importantly, eating a balanced diet that fuels your body.

Diet culture is so dangerous to impressionable young people and contributes to the development of eating disorders. Anorexia, bulimia and body dysmorphia are serious mental health issues that can be detrimental and have caused people to lose their lives by becoming severely underweight or committing suicide.

To combat the danger celebrities are inflicting for money, Jameela Jamil is making her voice heard. S. Bryn Austin, professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health, wrote:

“Arguably, she’s done this more efficiently and expeditiously than a quarter century of well-intentioned but utterly unglamorous communications from the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

NBC News

Jamil reminds us that these celebrities have personal trainers and chefs to maintain their toned physiques. This is brushed aside when doing their ‘paid partnerships’ on Instagram. We must always give ourselves a reality check before falling into the traps laid down to prey on our insecurities. Insecurities that some Instagram accounts and advertising companies have already helped to create through their focus on appearances rather than general health.

Protein World’s 2015 Advertisement, Source: The Guardian

This is how Kim Kardashian responded to the backlash:

“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.”

NY Times

Jamil has insisted that she has been offered the same types of products to endorse and she has morally declined.

The Instagram account that Jamil created titled i_weigh, encourages people to see beyond their appearance and leave toxic diet culture in the past. Her voice and online presence have inspired so many to ‘weigh’ themselves in a completely different way.

Please sign Jameela Jamil’s petition if you agree that these toxic teas should no longer hold a place on our timelines:

Stephanie has recently completed an English degree and is now focusing on reciting spoken word over tracks she co-produces. She enjoys writing scripts and short stories as well as discussing issues related to mental health, underrepresented voices and feminism.

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