Kim Kardashian West broke the internet yet again on Wednesday when she endorsed a new line of appetite suppressant lollipops from Flat Tummy Co. Many of her followers — and The Good Place star Jameela Jamil — questioned why she was promoting the product, and accused her of encouraging eating disorders.
In a promotional email sent to PEOPLE, Flat Tummy Co. said that the lollipops “help to suppress your appetite, kick your cravings, and are only 35 calories per pop.”
The company says that the lollipops are formulated with their trademarked extract, Satiereal, “a clinically proven safe active ingredient extracted from natural plants, it works to maximize satiety (which helps control food intake, cravings and weight),” and they advise consuming one to two lollipops a day.
But are these lollipops, which Flat Tummy Co. says on their website are not FDA-approved, safe to consume?
“The company does not give us enough details about what Satiereal is, or how much is in each pop,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian and sports nutrition specialist, and member of PEOPLE’s Health Squad.
Flat Tummy Co. indicates on the FAQ section of their website that Satiereal is a saffron extract from crocus plants, but does not add further detail. That, along with the lack of FDA approval, is a problem, says Blatner.
“We don’t know what continued use of Satiereal at unknown doses will do,” she says. “There are too many unknowns to make this a good idea — yet.”
Flat Tummy Co. has not responded to PEOPLE’s request for further comment.
Blatner says it’s “possible” that a saffron extract could be helpful in suppressing appetites, but the research is based on a very small study.
“Early studies suggest saffron has beneficial health effects,” she says. “There have been studies on saffron and heart disease, blood pressure, cancer, brain health, and mood, and there is a small study with 60 people from 2010 that suggests it may help with appetite and decreased snacking episodes. And I like that these pops are only 35 calories, are naturally flavored and don’t have any stimulants, unlike most appetite suppressants on the market.”
But really, she says, the benefit of grabbing a lollipop when you’re feeling hungry is that it’s a distraction.
“Lollipops — of any kind — may help decrease boredom snacking, because when you have any lollipop in your mouth you won’t go get other higher calorie munchies.”
And the lollipops, which do not have any child-safety warnings on the packaging based on the images on their website, are not safe for any kids, Blatner warns.
“Never ever should kids and teens take appetite suppressants,” she says. “And really, if anyone at any age needs an appetite suppressant it’s time to take a look at what they are eating and their life stresses. Needing an appetite suppressant is only a band-aid for a diet that’s not filling, not satisfying or a life that needs rebalancing.”
Blatner advises reaching for real food instead.
“Instead of eating flavored grape, watermelon, apple or berry lollipops, actually eat a healthy snack like a handful of nuts with actual grapes, watermelon, apple slices or berries!”