So I was watching the Tyra Show this afternoon and came upon this very interesting topic. The Tyra Show revolves around three major premises (weight, fashion, and racial discrimination) and this particular episode dealt with the first, where they talked about the more radical ways people try to lose weight. There was a girl who stapled her ears to curb her cravings, and another who stitched a mesh on her tongue to prevent swallowing. But perhaps the most disturbing is how there are people who intentionally put tapeworms in their bodies to help them lose weight.
Now, I have heard of cases of tapeworms placed in the body to trim down. In the 70’s, several manufacturing firms put tapeworms in diet pills to stimulate weight loss in their clients. But from what I remember, the clients were unaware that there was a parasite introduced to their bodies.
Usually, tapeworms (Cestoda) are acquired through eating undercooked food contaminated with host poop (host referring to those who have tapeworms in their bodies) or host meat. Tapeworms are very disgusting creatures. The beef tapeworm grows to 40 ft. long and other species can grow to over 100 ft. long and live up to 20 years. They stick to the digestive tract using hooks and suction cups on their heads. The reason why a host loses weight is because the tapeworm eats the food they eat. Like a pregnant woman, the host eats for two people. In fact, it eats for many people because a tapeworm grows many digestive systems which independently feeds. What’s worse, it lays eggs. Eww! It gets so bad (they can lay up to a thousand eggs at a time) that the host may poop worms, or proglottids.
Tapeworms can also be dangerous. While it promises appealing aspects to the weight-conscious (such as loss of appetite, diarrhea), the tapeworm can enter the brain and cause life-threatening infections, severe headaches, seizures, and symptoms of psychosis.
There is even a site that sells and promotes the “tapeworm diet”. The owner (who if I may mention never went to med school and whose methods aren’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration) guested on Tyra and defended himself by saying that the site is for autoimmunity. Because of our obsession with cleanliness, the immune system develops autoimmunity and chases “ghosts” because it has nothing to fight. Beef tapeworms are then introduced for $2,000 to entertain the immune system. However, I noticed that although the site (and the owner) mentioned that they only treat those who have this autoimmunity, the page’s subtitle was “all natural weight loss” and featured an ad that says FAT BANISHED! WITH SANITIZED TAPEWORMS. Very interesting.
I’ve done a lot of methods to lose weight but this is insane. People are becoming desperate and are resorting to more dangerous methods to fight fat. Stapling the ears and stitching the mouth is far enough (hello, gangrene), but to introduce foreign objects that could drive you crazy is just too much. I’d rather take Phentermine and Ephedrine (appetite suppresants similar to shabu and cocaine) than have a hundred-foot long worm in my body. What are they going to think of next? Stapling the stomach? No, wait. They already thought of that.