What This Dietitian Has to Say About Craving Relief Stickers

Posted in Controversy / Food and Body Relationship

What This Dietitian Has to Say About Craving Relief Stickers

Submitted by Brooke Bulloch, Registered Dietitian and mom.


A few weeks ago, I was approached by someone in my community who said that they had a friend who was shopping in a kid's store, and they came across a curious product.

You may have heard of Natural Patch Co., they have some pretty interesting and innovative products. For example, their Itch Relief Patches go on your child's skin to ease the itch of insect bites. They claim to, "combine the healing and remedial power of nature's essential oils with scientifically developed sticker patches".

The product that the person saw in the kid's store was called an 'Appetite Control Sticker'. I couldn't find this specific product on the website, but found a similar product called the 'Craving Relief Stickers' - I don't know if it's a different product or if the name had recently changed.


sugar craving stickers

Here are 4 reasons why this Dietitian feels Craving Relief Stickers are problematic:

1) Upon first glance at the website, I can see that the company is co-opting non diet language. It's trendy to talk about food relationship, and people are gravitating towards that. But I know they're not actually non diet because right on the website it says, "Want to manage sugar and junk food cravings without hurting your relationship to food?" Anyone who is following the non-diet philosophy understands the whole purpose is to improve your relationship to food by neutralizing food, and removing moralization of food, such as terms like "junk". In this case, sugar is being referred to as "junk" and portrayed as "bad". What they're trying to do is villainize sugar so that you'll buy their product, while co-opting non-diet messaging.

2) There is no scientific literature in humans demonstrating that ingesting or smelling essential oils will reduce food cravings. Preliminary evidence in rodents specifically looks at grapefruit oil extract and Citronelle as possibly reducing appetite and inducing lipolysis (fat breakdown), which may induce weight loss in the rodents. While interesting, this can't be extrapolated to humans and is not considered high quality evidence. This also brings me to point number three...

3) Products like this are fat phobic. Basically what they're saying is that you should fear sugar, and you should want your kids to have less sugar, because sugar is bad. But ultimately, when we dig into about why people fear sugar so much, concerns most often come down to a fear of weight gain, or a fear of fatness. It has more to do with anti-fat bias than it does health. And no, sugar does not cause diabetes.

4) Diet culture loves to (inaccurately) use language like "cravings" and "emotional eating" to sell their product or services. They want you to believe that your eating habits and taking pleasure in certain foods - in this case sugar - is problematic and requires control. Having food cravings is a typical human trait and it's usually induced by not having enough access to overall calories/energy, or to a certain type of food. Think about it, when you tell yourself to cut out sugar completely, over time, what do you start to obsess about? What do you start to crave most? Sugar and carbohydrates! You don't get enough access to fruit or vegetables, there's a good chance that you might crave them at times. Studies show that if kids are being restricted of highly palatable foods, their desire for them increases; when those foods become available you'll find them wanting to consume a lot of that food at one sitting (or obsessing about that type of food until they are exposed to it again).

Crave Relief patches aren't based on scientific data, they perpetuate food fear and untrue beliefs about sugar, and they contribute to weight discrimination through anti-fat messaging and bias. This product is problematic.