If you’re an avid TikTok user, chances are you’ve seen a clip or two going around about the latest viral weight loss trend. This one promises a ton of health benefits in exchange for a simple little packet that’s easy to sip right out of bed. A ton of health and wellness influencers are joining in on the craze, and there’s plenty of eager TikTok users looking to try their own hands at snaps.
So, what exactly are snaps, and why is TikTok so obsessed with the trend? Here’s what we know about the snap weight loss diet.
Joining in on the snap craze
The snap weight loss diet trend refers to Velovita’s dietary supplement serum packets. There are three in total, with the most popular being the “zlēm,” or the “sleep and slim.” The zlēm snap offers a “cutting edge biohacking formula with a full spectrum of powerhouse ingredients” designed for “maximum impact in the area of body renewal, restoration, and optimization.” That includes “healthy weight management.”
Velovita’s snaps’ colloquial namesake comes from their ease of use: Just bend the packet and snap it in your mouth, as TikTok health and wellness influencer @thehollylynn says. Most snap influencers encourage users to take two per day, one of which being the zlēm.
With just over 58,000 TikTok followers, @thehollylynn is one of the most popular snap diet advocates on the site, with one of her weight loss videos reaching more than 330,000 views. Other popular snap influencers include @sherrybrown04, @shelbikautzsch, and @nikkitempleman, who each promise snaps can lead to weight loss over time.
While there isn’t much research available about whether Velovita’s snaps are effective, there’s reason to suspect the reality is a little more complicated than the trend. TikTok snaps’ popularity seems to follow the same logic as most viral dieting trends: Just change one thing about your behavior, or purchase one specific product, and reaching your ideal weight will soon follow. Hidden behind this is “diet culture,” or a cultural phenomenon that hyperfocuses on ideal eating and lifestyle habits in exchange for a highly desirable physical appearance.
Weight loss anxiety is wrapped up in diet culture, which involves “obsessive discussions about calorie limits, types of foods consumed, exercise expectations, and other methods used to lose weight,” Choosing Therapy notes. Even if Velovita’s products offer legitimate health benefits, the viral marketing structure behind TikTok’s snap influencers warrants a second look for their hyperfixation on health benefits through fat loss. In fact, if you previously saw a TikTok snap diet video out of the blue, that may be because TikTok’s algorithm boosts trending diet-related content regardless of the post’s medical credibility.
All this can encourage shame around body size and put pressure on users to lose weight in order to appear “healthy.”
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As for Velovita itself, it should come as no surprise that the company functions off a multilevel marketing plan. The MLM information blog Behind MLM and Your Affiliate Survey point out the challenges with the company’s affiliate and commission structure, which seems primarily focused on recruitment. So yes, the viral sensation is most likely due to the company’s business structure.
And there’s fair reason to be skeptical of Velovita based on its marketing copy. One of Velovita’s most popular products on TikTok, brān, is a nootropic, and Psychology Today warns that there is “no guarantee” any random nootropic will “supercharge your brain” on first use, even if there’s “tremendous potential to nootropic use.” So assuming Velovita’s dietary supplements work, there’s still reason to suspect that Velovita’s packets may work better for some than others—something that’s obviously missing from videos by TikTok snap advocates.
Whether snaps do or don’t help users remains an open question, but skepticism is warranted. Don’t believe snaps are the cure-all for your health problems just because a popular TikTok influencer drank some serum to a hit song.