Complaining about advertising campaign from Boost Your Energy Diet from ilumi

Complaining about advertising campaign from Boost Your Energy Diet from ilumi
Surely, I cannot be the only one who is upset at a recent marketing campaign by Ilumi? Bloggers are promoting ilumi’s “7 day Boost Your Energy” gluten free diet, to help get rid of the bloat feeling and lose weight!

Honestly, I think my head is going to explode. I can understand Ilumi wanting to appeal to a wider audience and I don’t object to “normal” folks eating products originally targeted at people with allergies/intolerances. Making free from mainstream is welcomed, it could result in lower costs, more variety, wider availability, improved products, acceptability and inclusion. What I object to is the implication that removing gluten from your diet has similar affects to say using calorie controlled diets like Weight Watchers. The idea of a 7 day meal plan delivered to your door makes me question if ilumi think they need to compete with the likes of Diet Chef.

One blogger who took part in the campaign, claims an improvement in energy and some weight loss but makes no reference to the diet they had before eating ilumi food. For all we know they ate McDonalds every day therefore it’s no surprise that they would experience a fluctuation in weight. Everyone knows that a balanced diet will help boost energy, eat crap and you'll feel crap, simples! If you followed this ilumi “diet” and chose to maintain a gluten free lifestyle, you would probably supplement it with other free from products and it is at this point where I think there is a strong case to argue you could see weight gain. People are often mistaken in thinking free from food is healthier but gluten free food in particular, is often full of calories, sugar, lacks fibre and lower in nutrients. You won't be feeling so light on your feet when you're constipated and can't take a poop!

I have moaned about ilumi’s marketing techniques before now, mainly on Twitter and among friends. I do feel ilumi have an innovative product for the free from market and controlling for many allergens makes them unique in comparison to their competitors. I do not doubt that ilumi products are appealing to everyone, you only have to look at the supermarkets aisles to see them overflowing with convenience meals but if you want to expand your market to those outside of the allergy community, why does there always have to be a gimmick? This is where you all yell at me and yes, I know about marketing spin but this campaign just feels wrong. I guess what I am trying to say is, I would like to see a different approach with non-freefrom bloggers. I believe ilumi are sending mixed messages and fuelling the controversial side to living a gluten free lifestyle, the side promoted by media and celebrities. I don't believe any Coeliac would encourage others to live their lifestyle, it certainly is not an easy diet. The sad thing is ilumi are not the first to promote gluten free living in this way and I am sure they won't be the last.

Before publishing this post I asked my sister (who has been gluten free for medical reasons for 20 years) to share her thoughts.

"I have battled to lose the extra pounds that I put on as I had no idea that gluten free foods where higher in carbs! Therefore whilst I was substituting for my cravings, I actually was piling on the pounds! It was only when my doctor said that I need to carefully think about what I ate, I looked into it all. Gluten free foods are actually higher in everything! Going gluten free should not be a fad – it’s a change of lifestyle for people with a disease. I am not suggesting that you shouldn't go gluten free – but cutting down and eating the correct foods is far better for you than cutting out gluten altogether. It's true about the fibre, my body wasn't getting enough and I had to drink that fibregel or whatever its called to get a healthy amount of fibre in. I was constantly tired and all I wanted to do was go to bed! Going gluten free for normal people should not be marketed as a ‘diet’. If I had a choice, I’d rather be able to eat normal food. (I) cannot believe how they have marketed that! That’ awful........ok so yes, there is a lot more in the world about gluten free – great exposure – but I want to be known for having a disease not because I am on a fad diet – terrible – someone might not take the disease seriously and potential contamination could happen."

If you think you have a problem with gluten, seek medical advice. You do need to continue eating gluten until tests have been carried out (blood test and gut biopsy) so eliminating gluten beforehand will be more hassle than it's worth.

Sarah x