A social media influencer from San Francisco, California is under fire following some controversial claims about conventional shampoo. The self-appointed health guru told her Instagram followers that shampoo may be "making you gain weight" earlier this week, and plenty were not happy. As her posts spread outside of their usual circles, many body-positivity activists decried the whole idea as "fatphobic."
Instagram user keepyourkefi -- or Eleni Chechopoulos, according to her profile -- posts about health and nutrition, with a particular focus on gut and hormone activity. She advises followers on common food sensitivies and other lifestyle habits that can effect the microbiome, while promoting her work as a personal consultant.
One of Chechopoulos' most recent posts, however, reached outside of the world of health and fitness on Instagram to the realm of body politics on Twitter. On Tuesday, she posted about how common shampoos can reportedly effect body composition.
This is next level fatphobic. Encouraging women to think and worry about the number of calories in SHAMPOO and it’s effect on weight gain. Jesus wept. pic.twitter.com/VfZLoxEXDW— Chloe Elliott (@ChloeInCurve) October 23, 2019
"You count every calorie that passes your lips, but your weight won’t budge," she wrote. "Enter obesogens. Chemicals that disrupt HOW your body creates and stores fat - found in shampoo, toothpaste, grocery store receipts, shower curtains, makeup, perfume, and so. much. more."
According to Chechopoulos, hygeine products with "obesogens" might be the last factor keeping some people from reaching their health and fitness goals. She explained that the antibacterial compounds in the products can affect the microbiome of the skin, and in turn, the gut microbiome. She even claimed that the FDA has banned certain antimicrobials, with suspicion that they "disrupt how well the thyroid works."
"But they're still in toothpaste, mouthwash, face wash, dish soap, deodorant and makeup!" she added.
She advised fans on which products to avoid, and directed them to her service called the Gut Rehab Blueprint, which seems to be available only as a 30-minute consultation call. Chechopoulos did not cite any sources in her post, so it is unclear where the data she explains came from.
Her post made it over to Twitter the following day, in the form of screenshots. Culture critic Chloe Elliott, founder of the body-positivity blog Chloe In Curve, called it "next level fatphobic."
Elliott wrote that Chechopoulos was "encouraging women to think and worry about the number of calories in SHAMPOO," though it was not clear if she was joking. The post itself did not mention the caloric content of hygeine products, but the compounds that can effect hormonal health.
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AVOIDING OBESOGENS: PT II Does the thought of your shampoo or your water bottle contributing to weight gain scare you? Or make you feel like there’s no point in trying because it seems like EVERYTHING these days is bad for you? I get it - this information is shocking and eye opening. Finding out that something as seemingly innocent as your favorite shampoo might actually disrupt metabolic or hormonal processes, and might be directly or indirectly increasing weight gain… That’s maddening enough to make anyone stomp their feet and throw a fit out of frustration! But here’s the good news! You have the power and the choice to avoid a TON of these endocrine disrupting chemicals. Do you need to throw out ALL your plastic immediately and completely overhaul your life? Toss all your makeup and buy a whole new set? NO! Take it one step at a time. I gave you 4 tips in yesterday’s post, and here are 4 more to make this easy peasy: 🌱 Swap plastic tupperware for glass storage (Costco has a great 18-pc set!) 🌱 Deny paper receipts and opt for electronic instead - very common source of BPA! 🌱 Buy organic and grass-fed whenever possible (especially foods listed under EWG’s “dirty dozen”) 🌱 Switch from regular tampons to 100% organic cotton tampons, period underwear, or menstrual cups! Which one of these feels easiest to you? 👇 PMID: 22017230 PMID: 27135406 PMID: 16689925 PMID: 22953781 PMID: 19153269 . . . . #foodisfuel #nontoxichome#holisticmama #pcos#pcosweightloss #ibs#adrenalfatigue#adrenalfatiguerecovery#guthealth#leakygut #leakygutdiet#guthealing#hormoneimbalance#weightlosstips#hormonebalance#cyclesyncing#menstrualhealth#periodproblems#pcosfood#alternativehealth #thenewhealthy #womenshealth#estrogendominance#foodsensitivities #menstrualhealth#nourishyourself #foodforthought
Still, the backlash was enough to make Chechopoulos disable the comments on her post, and to make a follow-up as well. On Thursday, she returned to Instagram, apparently responding to the backlash she had seen.
"I get it - this information is shocking and eye opening. Finding out that something as seemingly innocent as your favorite shampoo might actually disrupt metabolic or hormonal processes, and might be directly or indirectly increasing weight gain... That’s maddening enough to make anyone stomp their feet and throw a fit out of frustration!" she wrote.0comments
Chechopoulos then encouraged fans to "take it one step at a time," and not to "throw out ALL your plastic immediately and completely overhaul your life." She wrote that she had given four tips in the previous post, and offered four more -- including replacements for plastic products, opting for organic foods and even using organic tampons.
Here, the comments were not disabled, and the outrage was on full display. Many commenters refuted Chechopoulos' posts, and accused her of spreading misinformation. However, a few followers did defend her.