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Emma: My Detox Tea Battle

Emma is 23 and wants to ban detox teas from being sold on Instagram. Is she right?

Emma Whittaker was 17 when she fell into a cycle of abusing laxatives. She first started using them when she got swept up in the detox tea craze that exploded on Instagram. These teas contained the natural laxative senna and promised to cleanse the body and get users flat tummies and perfect hair.

Emma was susceptible to the messaging. Her mum died when she was 12, and soon after she embarked on a career in modelling. “How I looked was all that mattered to me. That’s all I cared about.”

Six years on, Emma has recovered from her eating disorders and she wants some answers. She has started a petition calling for a ban on the sale of laxatives and detox teas without a prescription from a GP.

Can a tea really detox the body? Is Emma’s petition realistic? And what responsibility do Insta influencers have for the mental health of their followers?

Emma talks to a detox tea company CEO, an Instagram influencer and the Advertising Standards Authority to find out.

Producer: Lucy Proctor

Available now

28 minutes