A glamorous model sprawls languorously on her back, naked but for some strategically placed candy floss-coloured powder preserving her modesty.
This is the odd scene that welcomes visitors to the millennial pink-covered website for Skinny Sprinkles, the latest hot miracle weight-loss product. Click past the homepage and it turns out that sprinkling the products over your privates is not the route to shedding the pounds.
Rather, Skinny Sprinkles are designed to be added to water and consumed half an hour before meals, three times a day (21 sachets for £24.95) to help you feel full and consequently less inclined to overindulge.
Reality TV star Holly Hagan, along with her Geordie Shore co-stars Chloe Ferry and Sophie Kasaei, claim to have lost weight with the help of the seductively marketed, heavily instagrammed flakes, which have been dubbed “a gastric band in a glass” by fans. Lateysha Grace, of The Valleys, and Chloe Sims, of The Only Way Is Essex, are also said to swear by the product, if you take their social media posts at face value.
The key ingredient of Skinny Sprinkles is glucomannan, a water-soluble fibre derived from the roots of the konjac plant that is used as a food thickener. This absorbs water and, according to the manufacturers, takes up space in the stomach, which makes you feel fuller for longer.
When you consume any food or drink, the stomach is distended, hormonal changes send signals to the brain and you feel fuller. Adding something containing fibre to liquid, such as porridge oats to milk, makes this feeling last longer.
Whether this reduces how much you eat depends on your will power. If an exciting dessert menu in a restaurant is liable to encourage you to squeeze in a little pudding even though you are full, Skinny Sprinkles might not work for you.
“If you find it easy to stop eating when you are full, it could in theory help,” says Catherine Collins, a spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association. “But if you are the kind of person who can be tempted to keep eating when you feel full – and this applies to most overweight people – I doubt it will help.”
Skinny Sprinkles also contain inulin, a dietary fibre found in root vegetables and often extracted from chicory. It is often promoted as a prebiotic, designed to help stimulate the health of helpful bugs in the digestive tract.
Inulin has also been found to cause bloating in those with irritable bowel syndrome. Anyone who feels gassy after consuming it might want to consider finding other approaches to losing weight. The product also contains guarana and green tea extract “to combat tiredness and fatigue”. The South American fruit is indeed a stimulant, with similar effects to drinking a cup of coffee.
So, if you have iron will power, a good digestive system, almost £5 extra a day to spare and you live somewhere with a coffee shortage, Skinny Sprinkles could be your route to a new, svelte and more energetic you. Or you could look for alternatives.
“Starting your meal with a cup of soup and half a tin of beans or a small salad would be just as effective,” says Collins. “And a heck of a lot cheaper.”
Why trendy weight loss drink Skinny Sprinkles is no better than half a tin of beans | Life and style