Recently, an ad in Time Square for an appetite suppressing lollipop caused an uproar in the eating disorder and non diet community. This lollipop is being promoted as a tool for people to get a “flat tummy”. Many clinicians, activists and people living with eating disorders have shared their thoughts on why this type of product is not only ridiculous, but also potentially dangerous.
Hunger Is Not The Enemy Within our culture, we often talk about hunger and appetite as something to try to ignore or avoid. When I ask my clients about their appetite, they often reply it is “too good”, and they wished it would be lower. However, hunger is not the enemy. Hunger is your body’s way of telling you what it needs. If you suppress hunger, you risk denying your body what it requires to support your metabolism, which is the sum of all the chemical reactions happening in your body to sustain life. Hunger helps guide our eating choices*.
Selling Disordered Eating For Profit Is Irresponsible Selling appetite suppressing products, especially in the form of candy traditionally consumed by kids, is extremely reckless. It is sending the message that bodies and hunger can’t be trusted. It is selling disordered eating to increase the bottom line. This can be highly problematic for those struggling with food and body image, and very dangerous for those those most vulnerable to developing these challenges. We know societal messages around food influences our relationship with it. Companies need to be more accountable for the messages they send to the world.
A Flat Tummy Is Not Your Life’s Purpose As a society, we need to get away from the idea that smaller bodies and flat tummies are more desirable than other body shapes and sizes. This message is hurting everyone. Not only does it feed into individual body image struggles, it amplifies systemic fatphobia and weight discrimination for those with higher weights. Our worth and health should not be measured by our body size. Remember, a company selling products for profit can never replace the wisdom of your body. Hungry? Grab your favourite meal or snack. Your body deserves nourishment and pleasure.
* If you are healing from an eating disorder, you may require structured eating guidelines if you experience a lack of hunger cues. Hunger cues generally increase as nourishment is restored and balanced.
Josée Sovinsky is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Therapist based in Toronto, Canada who specializes in eating disorders, intuitive eating and community nutrition. She uses a weight inclusive and Health At Every Size approach to support others in making peace with food and their body. She is passionate about social justice and includes a feminist lens to the work she does. She works with clients in person in Toronto, and Canada-wide virtually.