Lizzo's Smoothie Cleanse Is Sparking a Conversation About Diet Culture

She followed up her posts with a message about bodily autonomy.

Lizzo's been giving her followers an inside look at her diet lately, from experimenting with a raw vegan diet to revealing her favorite comfort foods. In her latest TikToks, the singer shared her thoughts after trying a more controversial type of diet: a smoothie detox.

In one post, Lizzo shared video clips of herself posing after each day of a 10-day green smoothie cleanse created by nutritionist JJ Smith. In an earlier TikTok, she showed what a day on the cleanse involved, including supplements, green smoothies, "superfood shakes," and snacks such as apples with peanut butter, mixed nuts, vegan protein bars, and cucumbers soaked in apple cider vinegar. A disclaimer at the beginning of the TikTok reads: "I was practicing safe detox methods [with] a nutritionist. Do not try without research." (

In a voiceover, Lizzo talked through her motivation behind completing the smoothie cleanse. "I drank a lot, and I ate a lot of foods and f*cked my stomach up in Mexico, so I decided to do JJ Smith's 10-day smoothie cleanse," she said. The verdict? "I feel amazing," she said in the video. "And I think it's great to reset your stomach, especially when you deal with gastrointestinal issues like I do. But I think I look f*cking great, too."

Smoothie cleanses (or anything with the word "cleanse" or "detox" for that matter) are a practice that today's anti-diet movement would love to leave in the past, especially since detoxing is unnecessary and can cause negative side effects. (Assuming you aren't dealing with organ failure, your liver and kidneys will naturally remove toxins from your body.)

After Lizzo documented her smoothie cleanse, many people took to the comments section to talk about the misguided beliefs around detox plans. "?? Promoting diet products to a fan base with majority being minors/young adults.. so disappointing," one person wrote. "Whhhhyyyyy?? I thought you knew better. Your body can cleanse itself; you're being scammed!!!!!!" another posted.

Truth is, the singer's posts could be triggering to some people, says Sydney Brodeur-Johnson, Ph.D., L.C.P., senior director of clinical services at Veritas Collaborative, an eating disorder treatment center. "Any time an admired public figure engages in extreme behavior with food or loses a significant amount of weight, it carries the risk of triggering fans," she explains. This can happen whether or not the celebrity says weight loss was their motivation, she adds. "While Lizzo has defended against backlash from fans by claiming that she went on the smoothie detox to recover from over-drinking and -eating, this actually models extreme cycles of behavior with food (i.e. binging and restricting) and normalizes them." (Extreme restriction — be it through food, calorie-counting, or even exercise — is characteristic of disordered eating.)

Even though Lizzo clarified that she worked with a nutritionist, it's safe to assume most people who see the posts won't do or won't be able to do the same. Some people may instead try to follow the singer's lead without consulting a dietitian or physician, says Brodeur-Johnson. But the fact is, regardless of whether or not you have an expert guiding you, any eating plan that asks you to consume just one type of food — even if that one food is tacos instead of smoothies — isn't going to give you the nourishment and satiety your body needs.

"With fame comes great responsibility," says Brodeur-Johnson. "And while everyone is free to live autonomously, for better or for worse, behaviors of celebrities, including Lizzo, have an impact not just on her, but on so many others."

Of course, the idea of celebrities promoting diet products — and the resulting backlash — is nothing new. Interestingly, though, while people are eager to slam the Kardashians for these types of posts, Lizzo's smoothie cleanse seems to be encouraging more debate than outright criticism.

In fact, some people are offering another perspective on Lizzo's smoothie cleanse. Licensed mental health therapist Alishia McCullough posted her thoughts on Instagram, arguing that many of the people who are criticizing Lizzo are cisgender, thin, white women who don't know what it's like to live in a fat, Black body. McCullough wrote that she's "been seeing folks saying, 'but she's a celebrity who should know better due to her influence.'"

"This is a tactic of dehumanization, that pushes us into the narrow boxes of what we do versus who we are," continued McCullough. "She is a human that is entitled to her journey! Stop saying it's diet culture and call it what it is, RACISM. And stop commenting on Black women's bodies especially if you are not dismantling the systems that have made it difficult to navigate the world in our bodies." (

In a follow-up TikTok post, Lizzo addressed her decision to not only try the smoothie cleanse but also document the experience in videos for her followers. "As you know, I would normally be so afraid and ashamed to post things like this online because I feel like, as a big girl, people just expect that if you are doing something for your health, you are doing it for a dramatic weight loss and that is not the case," she said in the video. "In reality, November stressed me the f*ck out. I drank a lot, I ate a lot of spicy things and things that f*cked my stomach up, and I wanted to reverse it and get back to where I was."

"I'm a big girl who did a smoothie detox and I wanted to share that with you guys," she continued in the TikTok. "I got exactly what I wanted out of it, and every big girl should do whatever the f*ck they want with their bodies." (

Following the backlash, Lizzo clarified her thoughts on the matter in another post: "I detoxed my body and I'm still fat," she wrote. (Reminder: Cleanses do not actually "detox" your body.) "I love my body and I'm still fat. I'm beautiful and I'm still fat. These things are not mutually exclusive. To the people who look to me, please do not starve yourselves. I did not starve myself. I fed myself greens and water and fruit and protein and sunlight. You don't have to do that to be beautiful or healthy. That was my way. You can do life your way."

In another TikTok, she expressed a similar sentiment: "I've spent so much time in this body, and I am no different than you: still struggling to find balance, still trying to mend my relationship with food, my anxiety, and my back fat," she said in a voiceover.

"It gets easier," continued Lizzo. "I've spent my hardest days trying to love me. If I have any advice, it is to eat, drink, move, rest. Your job is to grow. Your job is to figure it out along the way. Regardless of what I or any so-called expert says, you love you. And I hope you remember that."

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