Kim Kardashian’s waist trainers are a hit, but doctors warn of ‘harmful side effects

Kim Kardashian has promoted several questionable trends over the years, from heeled flip-flops to bike shorts — but her latest launch could be downright hazardous to your health.

On Monday, the 38-year-old shapewear mogul debuted her new SKIMS waist trainer, which proceeded to sell out in every size (from XXS to 4X) in under 24 hours. “They just make me feel really snatched,” Kardashian explained in a recent Instagram video plugging the $68 style, inspired by the girdles she’s worn and loved for years.

But although the star’s curve-enhancing contraption claims to “instantly erase inches,” buyers shouldn’t look to them as a long-term solution for whittling their waists.

“While they seem like a quick and easy fix, waist trainers don’t actually burn fat or make you lose weight, and there can be a lot of harmful side effects,” Dena Barsoum, MD, board-certified physiatrist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Hospital for Special Surgery, told Page Six Style.

“There’s a reason our bodies have the shape that they do. Waist trainers compress everything in the abdomen; not just your muscles and skin, but your intestines, stomach, liver, spleen and kidneys, and all of those need space to function.”

As a result, she said, wearers could experience indigestion and heartburn — or worse, cracked ribs and pinched nerves. And while Kardashian praised waist trainers as the perfect gift for her pregnant friends, Dr. Barsoum said there are far better ways for new moms to bounce back after giving birth.

“It’s understandable that women are anxious to get back to their pre-baby physique, but between a healthy, balanced diet and exercise, you can shed those pounds in a healthy way — safely, over time — that will allow you to keep that weight off. Whereas with waist trainers, they’re not causing you to lose weight, they’re just pushing things in different directions.”

The silver (or spandex) lining when it comes to Kardashian’s take on the controversial undergarment? Unlike the corset-like boned styles she’s modeled on Instagram in the past, the SKIMS version is made from neoprene. “Usually waist trainers are rubber-based and completely so hard to get on and, like, suffocate you,” she explained in her Instagram clip. “This one is so stretchy.”

Kim Kardashian has been plugging waist trainers on Instagram since 2014.
Kim Kardashian has been plugging waist trainers on Instagram since 2014.Instagram, Kim Kardashian

That might make it a slightly safer pick from a health perspective, but buyers still shouldn’t expect themselves to look like Kardashian at the Met Gala as soon as they strap themselves in.

“Everyone’s looking for a quick and easy fix to achieve the shape and weight they want, whether it’s a fad diet or a waist trainer, especially when there are celebrities and social media influencers saying these things are the best-kept secrets out there,” Dr. Barsoum pointed out.

“Typically, those celebrities are also the ones who can afford to have trainers working with them day and night, and a social media team to make sure their pictures look exactly the way that they intend. You certainly can’t believe everything you see on Instagram.”

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