Cotton Ball Diet

Sometimes dangerous dieting practices merge with the truly ridiculous. In those cases, something like the Cotton Ball Diet emerges. Most commonly used by teenagers, the Cotton Ball Diet involves eating cotton balls soaked in a liquid, usually water or lemon juice. The idea behind the diet is that the cotton balls will keep a person feeling “full” but without the person needing to take in any calories. This has proven to be a lethal mistake. Cotton balls are not made out of actual cotton but a synthetic blend that is non-digestible. As the body attempts, and fails, to digest and pass the cotton balls, they may get stuck in the intestinal tract. This can lead to agonizing pain, life-threatening blockages and burst intestines. In the worst cases, a person can die after developing massive infections leading to peritonitis or sepsis.

Tapeworm Diet

The Tapeworm Diet is exactly what it sounds like. A person willingly swallows tapeworm eggs and allows the parasite to develop in their intestines. The dieter continues to eat normally while the worm absorbs some of the calories and nutrients its willing host consumes. When the dieter has reached their ideal weight, they take anti-parasitic drugs to kill the tapeworm and excrete the often enormous parasite. Occasionally, the worm is still alive when the host passes the tapeworm.

Thousands of people are tapeworm hosts and do not even realize they are hosting a parasite. This is, of course, the idea behind the diet. Unfortunately for the hopeful dieters, the independent, living organism they have welcomed into their body does not always follow their plan. Tapeworms can grow to be thirty feet long and have been known to cause nutrient deficiencies in their hosts, such as anemia. The massive parasites can also cause bowl irritation and intestinal blockage. In addition, tapeworms can be accidentally ripped away from the intestinal wall resulting in internal injury.

Diarrhea, vomiting and headaches are the best case scenario when it comes to complications with this diet. Tapeworms are hermaphroditic and so are capable of carrying out reproduction from within their host. The most minor repercussions of tapeworm reproduction for the host are anal irritation as they pass the eggs. Tapeworm eggs, however, do not always stay in the intestinal tract. They can be carried throughout the body and form cysts in the liver, heart and brain. These cysts can swell to a gigantic size and cause the host’s organs to fail. More than one person who was unknowingly playing host to a tapeworm has died from complications associated with tapeworm egg cysts, and at least one willing host was killed after developing cysts as a result of the Tapeworm Diet. As such, the diet is illegal in numerous countries, though some desperate dieters continue to find ways to infect themselves with the parasite.

Fad diets rarely work, but some diets are truly dangerous. The safest and surest way to lose weight is by eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly. Weight-loss shortcuts are rarely an effective long-term solution, and some can end up costing the dieter far more than a growling stomach.