Kim Kardashian West is back at it with more #sponcon. This week, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star Instagrammed a photo of herself standing in a kitchen in a white crop top and underwear, sipping on something called "Shake It Baby."
The meal replacement drink is another offering from Flat Tummy Co, the makers of "Flat Tummy Tea" (you've likely seen an "influencer" or five shilling for the brand on Instagram). In her sponsored post, Kardashian West wrote that she’s struggled to “fit in [her] regular work outs [sic] and eat healthy” during the holiday season (OK, relatable) and touted this product as the antidote: "These meal replacement shakes are so good and it’s helping me get my tummy back to flat in the new year." OK, Kim — but what's in those pricey shakes, anyway? We asked a nutritionist Keri Gans about whether we mortals should be shelling out $71.20 for Flat Tummy Co's recommended four-week program, and in a word, she was skeptical.
According to Flat Tummy Co’s website, the Shake It Baby drinks are designed to replace one to two meals a day for two or four weeks. Each shake apparently contains 20 grams of plant-based protein, ingredients from fruits and vegetables, and something called "Super CitriMax." The brand says this ingredient makes its Shake It Baby program three times "more effective than diet and exercise alone."
So what is this Super CitriMax, anyway? Its key component is garcinia cambogia, a fruit that contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA). HCA fans say the compound boosts fat-burning and reduces appetite, but there haven't been large-scale trials to prove it works better than a placebo: "There’s no convincing evidence that garcinia cambogia will help you lose weight or control cholesterol," the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health goes so far as to say. There was a Georgetown University study of 60 people that suggested the ingredient may have weight management potential — but Gans tells Allure this study and similar ones should be taken with a large grain of salt. "Perhaps there is preliminary research that suggests effectiveness, but not conclusive evidence," she says.
That doesn’t mean people who use products like Shake It Baby won’t lose weight, but if they do, Gans says this can likely be chalked up to other factors — like consuming less and exercising more. While Shake It Baby's ingredients don't appear to be harmful, per se, Gans points out, “It’s not like somebody can continue eating a cheeseburger, and fries, and pizza…[then] pop this Super CitriMax and expect to lose weight. [For] people who use shakes, usually, the calories are a lot less than they’ve been eating. That Flat Tummy company’s website...even say[s] [people should] eat less.” According to MyFitnessPal's calorie content database, one Shake It Baby shake contains just 130 calories — a lot fewer than in a typical meal.
If you are really looking to change your body (and more importantly, your health), Gans says to avoid the temptation of quick fixes and focus instead on establishing positive eating and exercise habits you can maintain in the long run. “People should rather save their money for fruits and vegetables. It really is that simple," she says. Meal replacement diets, she adds, don't provide whole "fruits, and vegetables, and fiber, and whole grains, and other things that are needed for a healthy body [and] feeling great." Energy, she stresses, comes from real food.
After all, Gans notes, Kardashian West is touting Shake It Baby now, but she’s previously endorsed other weight loss products — implying none of them is a silver bullet. “Maybe she should just start trying healthy eating for the long run," Gans says. Of course, something tells us posing with a fistful of fresh kale would be a lot less lucrative.
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