Ex-anorexic calls for shops to require prescription for diet products

Former anorexic whose weight plummeted to just five stone calls for High Street stores to require prescriptions before selling ‘harmful’ diet products to teenagers

  • Eleanor Booth, 21, from Hampshire was addicted to weight management brands
  • She used BooTea, Slim Fast and XLS Medical, taking dozens of tablets every day
  • Now she is calling for these products to be available to buy only via prescription

Eleanor Booth, 21 (pictured), was addicted to using brands like BooTea and Slim Fast

A former anorexic has called on high street stores to stop selling diet products to young people after she became addicted to them and her weight plunged to just five stone.

Eleanor Booth, 21, from Alton in Hampshire, was addicted to using brands like BooTea, Slim Fast and XLS Medical, taking dozens of tablets and teas every day while consuming just 500 calories.

Now she is calling for these products to be available only by prescription, claiming companies should take a moral stand against brands she believes encourage eating disorders among young women.

Eleanor would trudge to stores like Boots and Holland & Barrett to stock up on up to ten different weight loss and appetite suppressant products at a time.

She said: ‘These products are so widely available – at one point I had taken so many weight loss products that I could have poisoned my blood.

‘I don’t think people realise they can literally kill.’

Just 17 at the time, Eleanor was so gaunt she could barely walk but was determined to suppress her appetite.

She says she was never questioned at the checkout despite being obviously of school age and painfully thin. 


At her thinnest Eleanor weighed just five stone (pictured left) however she has since made a full recovery (pictured right) even taking up boxing


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The 21-year-old is urging high street stores to stop selling weight loss products to under 18s

Under current laws stores are allowed to choose whether to sell weight management products to under 18s.

Holland & Barrett said its policy was to only sell these products to over 18s, adding that customers would need to show ID at the counter.

Eleanor has now beaten her illness and weighs a healthy 10 stone. 

But she still worries for the future generation of body-obsessed girls, especially as so many of the products she says almost killed her are advertised by celebrities on TV and Instagram.

Girls Aloud star Kimberley Walsh and singer Alexandra Burke have plugged SlimFast, while Michelle Keegan has been seen buying BooTea.

And Vanessa Hudgens, Katie Price, Amy Childs, Danny Dyer, Vicky Pattison and Olly Murs have all plugged the BooTea range on their Instagram accounts.

The brand’s 14-day ‘TeaTox’ promises to ‘leave you feeling energised and motivated to reach your goals’ and the company offers a bundle of products with ‘everything you need to get in the best shape of your life.’

Its website also advertises eating plans.

Flat Tummy Co, which is endorsed by Kim Kardashian, are currently allowed to plug products like hunger blocking lollipops.


She would visit stores like Boots and Holland & Barrett to stock up on up to ten weight loss and appetite suppressant products at a time

Eleanor is now a picture of health and is urging high street stores to restrict access to these ‘harmful’ pills and teas

It is the latest brand to market their dieting products at young girls via huge billboards in New York’s Times Square and Kim Kardashian’s Instagram – with the promise that they too can achieve the dream washboard belly.

Their appetite suppressant lollipops are designed for ‘whenever you start to feel hungry’. However, plus size models such as Tess Holliday have fought back against the company by campaigning to get their ads removed for good.

As a survivor of anorexia and the target demographic for Flat Tummy Co, Eleanor also wants to fight to get the ads taken down – and ensure that diet products are only prescribed by a GP.

Their appetite suppressant lollipops are designed for ‘whenever you start to feel hungry’.As a survivor of anorexia and the target demographic for Flat Tummy Co, Eleanor also wants to fight to get the ads taken down – and ensure that diet products are only prescribed by a GP.

She also claims ad campaigns and celebrity endorsement contribute to the problem

She didn’t take Flat Tummy Co herself, but says they are dangerous, adding: ‘I grew up looking at these ads thinking ‘I just want a flat stomach’ – it was all I wanted in the world.

‘If they’re advertising it, I was going to take it. I would trust them, and the celebrities endorsing them.

‘Aside from becoming addictive and dangerous, they reinforce the stereotype that women can only be beautiful if they’re thin – it’s absolutely disgusting.

Eleanor halved her body weight in just a year while taking huge doses of hunger suppressing products, causing her liver to fail, her periods to halt and osteopenia – decreased bone density – which she still suffers from today.

Dietician Anna Daniels said: ‘Young girls are very susceptible to the marketing of these products, the trends and desire to be thin all over Instagram does nothing for the mental health of young women and men.

‘There should be without question restrictions with these types of products being so readily available over the counter – certainly they should only be available to 18 and older.

‘The idea of having something like a lollipop to suppress your appetite is incredibly distorted. This fuels unhealthy relationships with food and therefore increases the likelihood of going on to develop an eating disorder.

‘What we also don’t understand is any long term effects of many of these products on our health and how these ingredients may interact with other ingredients be that foods or medications that we are consuming. 


Eleanor’s weight plummeted to five stone but the 21-year-old has since made a full recovery

Eleanor used weight management products to suppress her appetite and hunger response, causing her liver to fail and her periods to halt

‘The problem with any of these over the counter drugs is that when they are abused then they do become incredibly dangerous’

A spokesman for Holland & Barrett said: ‘It is our company policy to only sell weight-management products to over 18s.

‘Our customers are able to benefit from the advice of our store associates, who are trained to A-Level standard in nutrition, and we always advise those looking to begin a new supplement routine to first seek advice from their doctor.’

Boots UK was contacted for comment. SlimFast, Flat Tummy Co, BooTea and XLS Medical did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

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