I’ve seen a lot of strange diets for weight loss, but sometimes patients will ask me about diets that still make my jaw drop. I mean, I get that people will do a lot of things for the sake of losing weight. But there are some things that are just not worth it. Let’s talk about the tapeworm diet.
The idea is that you infect yourself with a tapeworm, by swallowing the tapeworm egg and allowing it to grow inside your intestines. tapeworms are parasites that attach to the inside of human hosts that feed off the host as well as any food that passes by. Some people hope that by having a tapeworm living inside of you, any food you eat would be eaten mostly by the tapeworm, resulting in fewer calories being absorbed into your body and helping you to lose weight. The claim is that you’d be able to eat whatever you want and still lose weight fascinating.
History of the tapeworm diet
The tapeworm diet was born out of the Victorian era and it’s unusual standards for beauty. Back then, tiny waists of 16 inches were desirable, and women wore extremely restrictive corsets. To achieve these unnatural results, weight loss and slimming were achieved by any means necessary. In fact, tapeworm eggs were sold as supplements back then and had advertisements selling these things.
The standard for beauty back then was to look like your tuberculosis, pale skin, dilated eyes, rosy red cheeks and lips, and of course, a tiny waste. People even took small doses of poison like ammonia to look like that. So it’s not surprising when something like the tapeworm die would come out of a time like that. The FDA has since banned the important sale of tapeworms.
All about tapeworm
Tapeworms are a class of parasitic worms that have a life cycle that involves living inside of a host. tapeworms that infect humans follow similar life stages starting with an egg being consumed by a host, usually by inadvertently consuming undercooked meat, fish, or food contaminated by fecal matter. The egg passes into the intestines where it penetrates deeply into the mucosal lining. From there, it can migrate to other areas of the body and grow into long segmented worms feeding off the nutrition of its host. There are a number of common human tapeworms. Let’s go over four of them. The pork, fish, beef, and dwarf tapeworm.
As the name suggests, is usually caused by eating infected raw pork. Once a human is infected, it normally grows to two to three meters in length but can become much larger, sometimes over eight meters long. The problem is that the pork tapeworm can migrate to other areas of the body once they penetrate the gut lining, causing cysts tiser kosis insists tiser kosis the poor tapeworm can burrow through the gut lining and find its way into muscles, skin, your eyes, and your brain. In fact, the pork tapeworm prefers to burrow into brain tissue, with infections causing epilepsy, seizures, and blindness. It’s pretty nasty.
The fish tapeworm
Usually caused by eating raw uncooked fish grows even longer, with an average of 10 meters in length. Fish tapeworm infections can sometimes cause heavy immune responses and cytokine reactions due to the massive amount of eggs that fish tapeworms release into the stools around 1 million eggs per day. For one word. That’s a lot of friggin eggs. There are concerns of eating sashimi or raw fish and getting fish tapeworms in Canada.
Any fish that has to be consumed raw must be first frozen at a temperature of negative 20 degrees Celsius or below for seven days, or to a temperature of negative 35 degrees Celsius for 15 hours. This process kills any tapeworm eggs or larvae.
Again, usually caused by eating raw beef tend to be the largest of the tapeworms reaching a possible 22 meters or 72 feet in length. Imagine a worm the height of your body multiplied like 13 times in your intestines. It’s not surprising that severe beef tapeworm infections can cause intestinal blockages that require surgical removal.
The dwarf tapeworm usually found in the stools of infected rodents, mice or bugs tend to be the smallest of the human tapeworms reaching only about four cm in length. It commonly infects children living in unsanitary conditions.
The pork tapeworm can cause cysts tiser ketosis, resulting in hard nodules under the skin and neurological damage. However, mild fish, beef, and dwarf tapeworm infections can be mostly asymptomatic. This is because For tapeworms, only the pork tapeworm spreads outside the intestines in humans and causes infections in other tissues.
The other three generally remained in the intestinal system and can cause all kinds of gastrointestinal symptoms, things like diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, nausea and changes in appetite. This is likely the reason why most people avoid using the pork tapeworm for this tape word diet. nutrient deficiencies like b 12.
deficiencies are possible in longer-term heavier infections, causing a host of symptoms including pernicious anemia, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, and so on. When tapeworm infections are more severe, the tapeworm can clump up and cause intestinal blockages requiring surgical removal to clear such infections.
Is it effective?
Theoretically, it should cause weight loss. However, finding actual evidence of the effectiveness of the tapeworm diet is quite difficult. Most medical sources include weight loss and malnutrition as symptoms of tapeworm infections. However, just because it’s listed as a possible symptom, doesn’t mean it actually happens often. Additionally, there are documented case reports of tapeworm infections lead to no changes in weight or actual increases in waking due to the tapeworm causing increased appetite and hunger and victims.
Finally, it’s important to remember that most tapeworm infections, particularly those of the beef, fish, and dwarf tapeworms typically present asymptomatically, especially in adults, that is, they have no discernible symptoms at all. No nausea, no abdominal pain, and no weight loss. Weight loss is simply not a common symptom of regular tapeworm infections. In fact, most of the literature I could find about tapeworms definitively causing weight loss came from growth stunting infected children, or from heavily infected individuals.
So to answer the question, is the tapeworm diet effective? Not likely, if anything, you may gain some way due to an increase in hunger, and you’re probably more likely just to get diarrhea or some random gastrointestinal problems from it. If you do lose weight from it, you’ll probably be in a small minority of people who actually experienced weight loss from tapeworm infections, or you’ll likely have to be very heavily infected with it, at which point, the problems that it causes would probably not make it worth doing anymore.