After an Iowa woman visited her doctor to reveal that she had purchased a tapeworm on the Internet and swallowed it to lose weight, the physician immediately called the Iowa Department of Public Health to inquire regarding proper procedure in treating her. The incident has sparked a nationwide warning for others not to try this way of dieting.
Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the department’s medical director, advised he doctor to give the woman an anti-worm medication.
“Ingesting tapeworms is extremely risky and can cause a wide range of undesirable side effects, including rare deaths,” Quinlisk wrote in the email on Friday. “Those desiring to lose weight are advised to stick with proven weight loss methods — consuming fewer calories and increasing physical activity.”
While it is a common practice for dieters in in Hong Kong to use the ‘tapeworm diet,’ doctors in the U.S. advise against it as one tapeworm won’t do the trick but can lead one to suffer from anemia and malnutrition. Back in 2009, Tyra Banks did an episode of her talk show in which she interviewed women who said they would be willing to swallow a tapeworm if it really meant they could easily drop a few pounds.
Tapeworms are parasites that can live in the intestines of animals and humans. They can live for years in the intestines and grow to several feet long and are usually accidentally ingested in undercooked meat.
Just how far would you go to lose weight? Check out some other crazy diets that celebs have used to lose weight.