Some people will do anything to lose weight. And the latest diet trend is pushing those limits to the extreme. It’s called the cotton ball diet. Yep, you heard that right – the cotton ball diet. It involves dipping cotton balls in a variety of juices and eating them. Allegedly supermodels have been using this “technique” for years in an attempt to stay rail-thin, but now the diet has hit mainstream America.
Thanks to sites like YouTube and Facebook, several online videos of mostly young girls eating cotton balls and touting the benefits of the diet have gone viral. In fact, doctors say they are seeing more people in the emergency room with digestive problems due to eating cotton. Medical experts call it a bezoar, a ball of foreign material that gets stuck in the stomach or small intestine.
Those who try the diet explain the bizarre logic behind by stating that the cotton balls expand making you feel full. And by dipping them in juice, you are getting enough calories and nutrients throughout the day.
It comes as no surprise that medical experts refute these claims. One cotton ball can hold approximately one ounce of juice. That equates to a whopping 5 calories. That means you would have to consume 200 cotton balls in a single day to reach 1000 calories, which is half the recommended daily allowance.
What’s worse is that cotton balls aren’t really made of cotton. Everyday cotton balls are made of plastic. Yep. Plastic. It’s the same thing as taking a big bite out of a plastic fork or a water bottle.
Not only can the cotton balls become lodged in the stomach or small intestine, but the digestive enzymes created by the body to try and break down the “cotton” can end up getting washed back into the lungs causing other health complications.
One quick search of “cotton ball diet” on YouTube yields some down right scary results. Girls as young as 9 years old can be seen trying the diet and passionately preaching about its effectiveness.
The extreme nature of the diet has led to many experts saying this isn’t a diet. Rather, it is extreme behaviour that can easily lead to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
Young girls should be aware of the dangers of this fad diet and not take it as gospel just because they may know other people who are doing it. Experts say a sensible diet full of fruits, vegetables, and protein is a far more healthy way to lose weight.
If you or someone you love is on or is considering the cotton ball “diet”, consider the potential health complications and risky behaviour that may lead to an eating disorder.
The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at www.healthlocal.ca.