The Tapeworm Diet – Ingesting Dangerous Parasites to Lose Weight

The things people will do to shed a few unwanted pounds. A woman from Iowa has reportedly swallowed a tapeworm she bought from the internet in order to drop a few pounds, thus proving the tapeworm diet is more than a myth.

You can buy a lot of crazy things online these days, and apparently the tapeworm is one of them. Back in 2009, reports surfaced that dieters in Hong Kong were ingesting giant intestinal roundworm eggs in a desperate attempt to lose weight, and according to a number of sources, tapeworm pills are legally available at a number of clinics in mexico. The tapeworm diet is officially banned in countries like the U.S. and Britain, but as a recent case revealed by Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, proves, that doesn’t mean it’s not still practiced by extreme dieters. According to, a woman from Iowa went to her doctor and told him she had bought a tapeworm pill from the internet and swallowed it to lose weight. Unsure of what to do in such a situation, the physician contacted the state’s public health department for advice. In her weekly email to state public health workers, Dr. Quinlisk provided a treatment option and talked about the dangers of this bizarre practice.


“Ingesting tapeworms is extremely risky and can cause a wide range of undesirable side effects, including rare deaths,” Quinlisk wrote in her email. “Those desiring to lose weight are advised to stick with proven weight loss methods — consuming fewer calories and increasing physical activity.”Apparently the tapeworm pills that can be purchased on the internet are heads of Taenia saginata, also known as the beef tapeworm, which develop into 30-foot-long tapeworms inside the body. The parasite uses the tiny hooks on its head to grab on to your intestines and consume a large part of the nutrients you ingest. Technically, it does causes a person to lose weight, but it also causes a series of complications like abdominal pain or upset stomach, and it can eventually spread to other internal organs like the appendix, bile or the pancreatic ducts.


The tapeworm diet is not only highly dangerous but also ineffective. After they’ve lost enough weight, practitioners use anti-worm medication like praziquantel or niclosamide to kill the parasites and without a balanced diet and daily physical activity they eventually go back to their original weight.



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