Instagram Addressing the Problem of Diet Teas

Social media platforms are finally recognizing the danger in product advertised on their sites.


Photo by Alice Pasqual on Unsplash

45% of the worlds population use Social Media and are susceptible to whatever sponsored content is on these platforms

China, Sri Lanka, and Kenya export the most tea worldwide, shipping out about 1 million metric tons of it between the three countries.

This past September Instagram made a change to its policy, restricting viewership of diet products and in some cases removing the problematic content. Any user under the age of eighteen will not be allowed to view the problematic and harmful content, and any influencers making “miraculous” claims will be removed entirely.  This change is just one example of the changing opinions to hold diet companies more accountable and to have healthy weight loss promoted.

It’s the most popular beverage in the world after plain water. The world’s tea market was worth $38.8 billion in 2013.

Influencers like the Kardashians have posted payed promotions on their social medias, promoting appetite suppressing candy and dangerous diet teas and shake mixes.You might have heard of some of these companies, like Flat Tummy Tea or Fit Tea. Like all dietary supplements, the ingredients in these mixes are not regulated by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to, these products could include ingredients like powerful herbs (eg. senna), laxatives, high levels of caffeine, medications, and illegal chemicals (eg. ephedra). These diet teas are basically glorified laxatives that leave the consumer with potential health problems that they may have no idea they are at risk for to begin with. Any weight a consumer might end up losing is mostly water weight and not any “toxins” being cleansed. The human body already cleanses the body of toxins already, naturally and cost free!

Eric Smith, Williamsburg resident and a user of non-FDA cleared supplements, weighed in on the subject.”It’s very easy to have a label that reads FDA approved or tested. Electronics are put through government screening, why not products like this? The FDA should get involved whenever a product claims a health benefit,”  he stated. “Influencers should be allowed to endorse products like these but should bear liability if what they endorse is harmful.With endorsement comes the need for responsibility.”

Turks consume an average of almost seven pounds of tea per person annually.

“I honestly don’t think it is the social media companies fault, more so the celebrities. They need to decline to endorse these products or be up front with their audience about the risk. They need to not sell fake stuff to kids just to make money,” said Audrey Kovacs, Lafayette sophomore and avid user of social media platforms. “I don’t think influencers should be allowed to endorse products like these and I think they are just stupid in general. The FDA should definitely intervene since it’s something you ingest– it is food or drugs,” Kovacs continued. “Consumers should protect themselves be being informed and not buying it in the first place. The most powerful thing you can have is knowledge so you can make an informed decision.”

About 85 percent of tea sales in the U.S. are from iced tea.

Impressionable underage followers of these influencers are at risk of their physical and mental health being damaged by products like this. Companies like Instagram are taking a step in the right direction to hold these harmful diet companies accountable, but it is important for individual consumers to hold these organizations accountable. Where you choose to spend your money is a vote of support to whatever company you are paying. It is in the best interest of consumers to support companies that have your interests at heart. Companies that falsely advertise harmful products as “healthy” just to profit off of peoples insecurity need to know that it is simply not acceptable.