Eating Tapeworms for Weight Loss

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Individuals seeking to lose weight are constantly confronted with a variety of diets, supplements, and weight-loss regimens to choose from. Whether in magazines, on television or on the Internet, the consumer can be bombarded with any number of advertisements that claim to offer them the opportunity to lose weight with their products. However, individuals need to be cautious and well-informed when considering what products to use, as certain weight-loss marketing claims are not only misleading but also potentially detrimental to your health. The use of tapeworms for weight-loss purposes illustrates this risk.

Tapeworms are parasitic, segmented ribbon-like worms that obtain nutrients from the digestive system of their host. They can infect many different hosts, including humans, fish, dogs, cows, pigs, and sheep. Tapeworms in humans are usually acquired by eating raw or undercooked meat from infected animals, although humans can also become infected from contaminated water or from eating food prepared and contaminated by infected individuals. Once acquired, the parasite attaches to the intestinal wall of its host and absorbs nutrients as it continues to grow and produce eggs, which can be then be shed in the feces. Certain tapeworms can grow up to 15-30 feet in length and live up to 20 years in the host.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/25/2013