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Tyra Banks and the Tapeworm Diet

December 29, 2009 |  4:53 pm
Long before they were touted as a way to lose weight, tapeworms hung around in uncooked meat, entering unwary human intestines and stripping malnourished children in impoverished countries of the nutrients from what little food they had. And now, some women in more developed nations are willingly putting these parasites into their bodies to drop a few pounds. 
 
The “tapeworm diet” is making its rounds on the Internet this afternoon, as a "Tyra Banks Show" episode that aired in November makes an encore appearance. On that show, the model-turned-TV-personality interviewed women who said they would willingly ingest a yellowish worm (likely in egg form, rather than its yards-long full-grown counterpart) in order to lose weight.

In a story for the Health section, Elena Conis detailed tapeworms’ documented history with humanity as well as the early 20th century turn toward using the worm as an appetite suppressant. But Conis also points out, “some tapeworm species can bring on not just weight loss, but also malnutrition, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anemia and the formation of fluid-filled cysts that can damage organs, block circulation and cause seizures.

“The worms (the longest of which can grow to 35 feet) can also put pounds on.”

So if you’re considering scrapping your healthful eating habits and regular exercise for a giant worm … just think about that.

-- Amina Khan

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Comments (20)

America, land of the narcissist . You vanity cases should try the Meth/Aids diet, that way you wont hurt the innocent tape worms.
And we wonder why the rest of the world hates us and wants to kill us.

The Tyra Banks show did a really poor job of describing just how dangerous a tapeworm infection is and how impossible or difficult they are to kill and expel. A tapeworm infection leaves you wishing you were dead, no energy, lots of pain, hairloss, itching, fungal infections, viruses, zero digestion, you can't live without taking a TON of pills to survive and protect your liver and kidneys, etc. Tapeworms put off tons of toxic waste that your organs have to handle. Many people with tapeworms end up dying because they cannot get any type of treatment or diagnosis from mainstream medical. It's basically like having tons of autoimmune diseases at once, including Crohns disease. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. I'm still fighting it after several years. And by the way, you can feel them biting you too, EVERY DAY!!!

We have a long history of things such as this. George Washington's death was at least partially due to the doctors' treatment of bleeding the sick President. One day in the future, we will look back at bariatric surgery, tapeworm diets, and diet pills in a similar way.

I can't beleive they're really serious. And if the show didn't flat out say "you should never do this" it should issue that statement immediately or be held liable for promoting it. It's like saying do chemotherapy because it'll make you thin. Only chemo you can stop. Vanity check. Bad example and role model.

@Michael

The difference is the doctors in Washington's time didn't know better, the women who do this know its stupid but do it anyway out of vanity.

TO THINK OF HAVE A TAPEWORM GROWING IN MY BODY FOR WEIGHT LOSE IS SAD TO HEAR. I DEVELPOLE A TAPWORM BY EATING UNDER COOK FOOD,I AM VERY SCARED DUE TO THE FACT IHAVE BEEN DEALING WITH PROBLEM FOR ABOUT 5 MONTH I GET FEEL SICK WHEN I HAVE ANY TYPE OF FOOD AN MY DAUGHTER KEPT SAYING MOM YOUR ARE NOT LOSEEING WEIGHT. I TOLD MY DAUGHTER I AM NOT TRYING TO LOSE WEIGTH IN THAT WAY I AM NOT TRYING TO LOSE WEIGTH. SINCERELY;VERY AFRAID.

great post, seems to be really of great help

In a word....."Eeee-uuuu-www!" Anyone who's ever taken microbiology must be totally grossed out by this.....

What will it be next? Pellegra? Scurvy? Scabies?

" And if the show didn't flat out say "you should never do this" it should issue that statement immediately or be held liable for promoting it."

I don't think anyone expects the viewers to be that stupid. The 'guests' were invited for their freak-show aspect - obviously, if normal people would consider contracting tapeworm as a weightloss method, it wouldn't be TV. Ever see an hour long show of a perfectly normal person doing exactly what they do in an average hour? Right.... that's not why people pay for TV.

There's an infinite number of brain-dead things not to do. Maybe TV should have someone droning on 24/7 listing each and every one of them... but then you'd complain it was giving the poor idiots ideas.

Just put a gun to your head and the weight loss will show immediately! YOUR DEAD!

Cutting off your own head will save about 15 pounds at least.

This is a sad, sad commentary on our society that a tapeworm diet would even be considered. What happened to eating right, exercising, and taking in less calories than you put out? This easy way out is shocking...

This is crude and gross. Someone should let this poor women know that when instant gratification is pursued to this extent, it can lead to death. I watched a video on SPIKE the other day about a woman who died from this absurd diet. Cheers to all the partakers of this killer fad.

Idiots. Investigative science journalist showed in his exhaustive seven-years of research behind his book Good Calories, Bad Calories, that it is carbohydrates: flour, sugar, and starchy vegetables like potatoes, that cause the insulin reaction that puts on fat.

Tragically, much of the medical establishment and even the "research" establishment is careerist and goes by hearsay-based rather than evidence-based medicine.

Taubes leads the way on this, along with Dr. Michael Eades (a medical doctor blogging at proteinpower.com) and Dr. Robert Lustig of USC, whose video on how sugar is poison should be watched by anyone who wonders why they can't lose weight.

I put a friend on a diet I created based on reading the science detailed by these guys and he lost 17 pounds in a month, sans exercise, and his blood pressure went to nearly normal from high. He ate: bacon, eggs, hamburger, steak, and no alcohol - just sparkling water. The weight fell off.

PS The chain of evidence for cholesterol causing heart disease isn't there -- believe Taubes wrote about this for NYTimes. Check out all his articles -- on salt, exercise. He's an incredible reporter and one of very few you can trust to do exhaustive research and know what studies are flawed beyond acceptance (and all studies are flawed; some are just more flawed than others).

Sorry, left out the name at the beginning of my post. The investigative science journalist is Gary Taubes.

This is why we need to purge these morons and reality TV shows from our airways. The person who assumes the viewers are too smart to try it is really giving the viewers too much credit. Reality TV has turned us all into a bunch of train-wreck-viewing, worm-eating idiots.

This tapeworm diet is crazy. please, no one try this diet. I am an 18 year old high school student who was fortunate enough to travel to the miraculous country of Vietnam for three months. However, passing through security at the airport on my way home from Hanoi to Portland Oregon, I was not completely alone. i had contracted a tape wore from infected beef sometime during my trip. one my last few days, I began to experience painful stomach cramps which left me lingering in the bathroom for hours. After returning home to the united states, I felt nauseated constantly and could not eat any foods. Finally, my mother suggested that I visit the doctor and that's when I found out that I had been carrying a tape worm. It was mortifying.

please. DO NOT INFECT YOURSELF. It's horrible. Weight gain in a natural process in aging. Embrace your body. Love the way you are. Everyone is beautiful!

It's sad because people actually think this tapeworm diet is an easy way out of diet and exercise. There is no truer cure than diet and exercise.

Tapeworms are parasites. Parasites latch onto a host, and take nutrients from them. Ever heard of lice? Or ticks? You wouldn't want these on/in you because they are bad for you/gross/whatever. Tapeworms are just like that. They aren't your friend, they don't care if they make you sick, all they want to do is feed off of you until you are nothing more than a pile of greasy dust on the inside of a coffin. Why anyone would want to have one of these inside them is beyond me, unless it's just because they are to lazy to get off of their oversized bottoms and eat right, exercise, and do whatever else is necessary to lose the weight. Besides, do you think these women have ever seen a tapeworm? My Life Science teacher had one in a jar. It was flat, yellow, over 20 feet long... nasty, nasty, nasty. Even if they are the most narcissistic people in the universe, they shouldn't forfeit their health to these little yellow people eaters, just to lose a couple of pounds.



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