We all know how it is to want to lose weight, but one woman in Iowa took things a bit too far by choosing to ingest tape worms in an effort to shed a few pounds. The top health official in Iowa recently reminded health care providers across the state that there is actually a “tapeworm diet” that people have been trying to lose weight.
In theory, since tapeworms often cause weight loss or not enough weight gain in adults, the idea is that by eating “sanitized” tapeworms voluntarily people will experience the same results. For the purpose of the tapeworm diet, people choose to ingest the worm through a pill. It was a popular way to diet about a hundred years ago or so, and in Iowa, it seems to have made a return. At least for one woman who decided to try the dangerous type of diet.
The Department of Public Health Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk sent a statewide email to public health workers recalling a recent case she was asked to advise on regarding a patient that ate a tapeworm in an effort to lose weight.
Despite the long lapse in the tapeworm type of diet, it seems that many websites are beginning to sell this parasite as a diet again, and it appears that this is where this woman obtained the tapeworm that infected her. The most common way to get the parasite is through eating meat that is not cooked or raw.
The tapeworm latches onto the inner wall of a host’s intestines and consumes partially digested food to live, and in most cases, thrive. It will lay eggs in the intestines, which is how people can become infected or re-infected, when they come out through the feces of infected people or dogs.
The thing is that there are many negative side effects of having a tapeworm, such as malnutrition and in some rare cases, even death can result. It is treatable with anti-worm medication, which is terrific news for the patient that voluntarily ingested it.
Ultimately, for those that want to lose weight, a calorie restricted diet and exercise is a much healthier way to shed excess weight.