Why did TikTok ban muscle-building products on its platform?

The platform recently updated its community guidelines to prohibit โ€œfacilitating the trade or marketing of weight loss or muscle gain productsโ€, including creatine and protein.ย 

Where did this come from?

โ€œI think this grows out of a perception that in some way certain products that promote muscle building or weight loss are actually causing weight problems, whether it’s body image issues or disordered eating problems in adolescence. And that’s something that’s a narrative that we’ve seen pushed not only at this as an example in the social media platform but even in state legislatures. And so this sort of narrative has been out there for a little while and appears to have been picked up by Tiktok,โ€ said attorney Rick Collins, partner at Collins Gann McCloskey & Barry PLLC.ย 

In order to combat such narratives, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) funded a review of the scientific literatureโ€‹ pertaining to eating disorders and dietary supplements. The research, conducted by Susan Hewlings, PhD, concluded: โ€œThe evidence to date does not support a causative role for dietary supplements in eating disorders. The use of dietary supplements for weight management in both male and female teens appears to be declining, and the objective of weight loss is not observed as a common motivation for the use of dietary supplements among this age group.โ€

However, other researchโ€‹ did find that teens and young adults who reduced their social media use by 50% for just a few weeks saw significant improvements in how they felt about both their weight and their overall appearance compared to peers who maintained consistent levels of social media use.

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