Social media influencers often receive sponsorships from a large range of companies to create posts with certain products in exchange for personal payment. From clothing to subscription boxes to vitamins and food, Instagram influencers, in particular, are notorious for sponsored posts. However, one fitness model, Michelle Lewin, is under heat after posting photos promoting a dangerous weight loss pill. Before the eyes of her 13 million Instagram followers, Lewin posted a photo with Base Carb Crush pills with the caption “To endulge like crazy… And don't give a f*** [sic].”
Base Carb Crush pills are marketed as “carb blockers” and “appetite suppressants”. Made by the company “Base Nutrition” these supplements encourage eating as much as you want while cheating your healthy diet without any consequences. In particular, three pills are instructed to be taken before a “cheat meal”. Since Base Nutrition advertises these pills as “carb blockers”, carbohydrates are not seen as a beneficial nutrient but rather an impediment to a “perfect” body.
The fitness, the Instagram community has shown their outrage over Lewin’s promotion of the Base Carb Crush pills. Freddie Ray, a personal trainer who also has a fitness-related podcast, stated, “People are being brainwashed by someone with millions of followers who’s in great shape, having trained hard for many years, eaten well and having been incredibly disciplined in what she does day to day, not from having taken ‘carb crush’ pills. What sort of message is this giving people?!” Supporting Ray’s outcry, a nutritionist named Rhiannon Lambert also disagreed with Lewin’s post: “Taking any kind of diet pill can actually be extremely dangerous as our bodies are not meant to use pills as part of a well-balanced diet.”
When a supplement, pill, or company demonize a certain nutrient or food (in this case carbohydrates), it can be represented as a negative idea in a person’s mind. This type of thinking for a prolonged period of time can severely hurt a person’s perspective and relationship with food. The ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders) reported that over 30 million individuals in the United States have an eating disorder (anad.org/education-and-awareness/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/). As eating disorders are at extremely high rates in the United States, promoting potentially harmful diet pills and weight loss supplements could have a more dangerous effect than intended.
This article points out the ease with which products can be purchased online. As these pills are sold on Amazon, anyone with a credit card and Amazon account have access to them. If potentially harmful and not officially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), this type of accessibility and widespread publicity can put individuals at risk. It is always best to check in with a doctor before taking any type of pill, supplement, or vitamin.
Many social media influencers have a vast influence over their followers from all over the world which poses the question: how can the promotion of weight loss pills impact the younger generation? Do you support or oppose Michelle Lewin’s post? Do you think there should be restrictions and regulations for what social media influencers can and cannot promote on Instagram and other platforms?
Link (for picture): https://www.news-people.fr/b42790-base-carb-crush-_-patented-ingredient-that-allows-you-to-cheat-on-your-diet*-_-powerful-carb-blocker-for-smart-weight-loss*-_-60-veggie-caps.htm