The Tapeworm Diet

The Arizona Republic has raised an interesting question. Is it possible to use tapeworms as a diet aid? Won't the tape worm just sit in your stomach and consume all the extra food you eat, and after a while you can pull out the thing? The basic answer is no. This would not be a good idea. They go into some more details:

While a tapeworm might take in some of the food you do, it would at the same time be taking in a lot of vitamins and other nutrients you need to stay healthy. Do you know what ascites are? A big pool of fluid in your tummy caused by an immune response to something in your guts. Something like a tapeworm. It gives you a big potbelly, which runs kind of counter to the look you might be wishing for. And a tapeworm might not necessarily just set up camp in your innards. It can also cause cysts in your muscles, liver and eyes. Your eyes! So don't you think it might be easier instead to just eat a bit less and exercise a bit more?

Body Manipulation Food

Posted on Fri Apr 22, 2005


Willingly giving yourself a parasite in order to lose weight is a pretty stupid idea. How do you plan on getting rid of the tapeworm afterward? Are you aware of the complications, including death, that can result from a tapeworm? It's staggering how vanity can lead people to do such amazingly stupid things.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Thu Jan 26, 2006  at  11:55 AM
Additionally, for those of you incapable of figuring this out on your own, tapeworm pills are a hoax. That's the point of this site, after all.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Thu Jan 26, 2006  at  12:03 PM
Just let them Chary. Let them take a tapeworm and then let Natural Selection do its job by taking out the idiots from our gene pool...
Posted by LaMa  in  Europe  on  Thu Jan 26, 2006  at  01:19 PM
if a parasite forms a cyst in certain parts of your body, for example your heart or your brain, it may not cause immediate problems. However, a few years in the future, when the worm begins to die, you will begin experiencing seizures, loss of speach, and other stroke like symptoms before you die painfully. Also, you must remember that one tape worm will quickly become many. this is the stupidest plan i've ever heard...
Posted by nope  on  Sat Feb 04, 2006  at  11:32 PM
Hi all

I accidentaly found this site and just wanted to say that although people can live with certain types of tapeworm for many years without too big problems, they can eventually duplicate in large numbers and basically eat you alive. If you go to a party and accidentaly throw up at night there is a big chance the larvae might spread to organs such as brain, eyes and heart and it will give you various symptoms such as migraines, lethargy, depression, sight problems and even seizures. It's the most common reason for seizures actually. Also it carries lots of bad bacteria such as streptococks(spelling?) which acts like a virus in the body and can shut down the immunesystem completely by attacking the t-cells and is a large problem in most AIDS patients. Actually most AIDS patients have tapeworm infestations among with various other chemicals and infections, so it's pretty serious. Please don't buy that product.
Posted by Maria  in  Sweden  on  Sun Feb 05, 2006  at  04:50 PM
When I lived in Loas many (upperclass) people ingested tapeworm eggs as a weight loss procedure. There is a specific lizard native to the country that is supposed to be fried and served with rice to "flush" the worm out.

It worked, but passing the worm was very disconcerting. It moves out in your sleep and lays between your legs. So not worth loosing 15 pounds.
Posted by Stephanie  in  Georgia  on  Sun Feb 05, 2006  at  06:26 PM
Ok, the whole tape worm diet is not a "hoax", unfortunately it is real. BUT it is the dumbest thing a person could put into their body.
Now about that parasite you want to put into your body...dont do it. If your friend is in fact skinny from the tapeworm dont forget she has a completely different genetic makeup than you, it could have no effect on you or even kill you, is that a risk worth taking for vanity?
It's not like they just have a little mouth that eats the food, the entire surface area of their tegument absorbs your needed NUTRIENTS. They can self-fertilize so you no matter what pass your "diet" to intermediate hosts who really do not want it, then they pass it to other humans! Beef tapeworms can reach a length of 10 metres or more! Basically the worms are like a sidewalk with the blocks attatching to each other, they just continue to make new "blocks" (proglottids) daily, they even crawl out of the anus because so many are made...wouldn't that be nice, something crawling out of your ass while you are at work.
Pork tapeworms are very dangerous because the eggs migrate to any of several organs and form cysticerci which results in cysticercosis usually occuring in the brain or eyes and result in blindness, serious neurological symptoms or DEATH! A cross-section of the brain actually has holes in it, that is so good for losing a few pounds.
Fish tapeworms can be 20 m long and can cause anemia.
The dog tapeworm (which humans can also get) can grow in you for 20 years and cause a cyst the size of a basketball in an unrestricted site like the liver but in a restricted site like the heart or CNS which will kill you, the only way to get rid of these tapeworms is by surgery.

Hopefully now that you are more informed you will at least have second thoughts.
If you want to lose weight get off your rear and jog, you have shin splints...then go swimming. Eat healthy, don't follow the national food guide because it is based on days when everyone was farming and a lot more active. That is too much food. Just monitor your calorie intake, eat less, don't eat after 7PM (do the math for shift work what 7PM would be considered to be), and exercise damnit. It takes a long time to lose weight, don't be discouraged. Some people are genetically predisposed to be a bit thick and have to work a lot harder but stick with a routine. If you feel you NEED to diet I have studied them and I feel that "The Zone" is the best for your body. But you have to stick with that too, no cheating, no junk food. You still get to eat fats, carbs, and protein, just in the proper proportions.

If you are wondering why I am even on this site , one of my Prof's offered us bonus marks for finding a site that sells tapeworms. It honestly used to be sold as a diet pill, I have seen the ads. And as I have been by my still is.
Posted by Samantha  in  University majoring in Animal Biology/Kinesiology  on  Thu Feb 09, 2006  at  02:16 AM
My great grandma ordered 'diet pills' back in the day when they didn't have restrictions on mail order. They were tapeworm eggs. She found this out herself. Exactly.. not pleasant. Why do people want to lose weight? Get a healthy body.. muscles weigh more than fat, and some muscle builders weight more than you can imagine, but they are happy and fit and healthy. Weight is not the issue, self-image is.
Also interesting note, she ordered something that was supposed to remove leg hair long time ago, and her hair never grew back. It terrifies me to think about what might have been in that concoction.
Posted by anonymous  on  Sun Feb 12, 2006  at  09:31 PM
Its not just a self image thing. Don't get me wrong, I would love to look like the girls in all the magazines. I would love to walk down the street and have people not look at me, smerk, then walk away talking about how I look. But most importantly, I want to lose weight for health reasons. I have had a bad back and knee for years now. I can't walk up a flight of stairs with have to try to catch my breath. Forget about running, with my size and my "chest", it's painful. I get heartburn 3-4 times a week. I want to lose weight, so that in the years to come, I don't have high blood presure or something else. I have tried every diet pill and exercise, and nothing has been sucessful. I've gotten off the idea of "tapeworm pills", I was just willing to try anything. I am know looking into gastric bypass. The doctor says I'm a perfect canidate. I really hope my insurance will cover it.
Posted by Jenn  in  RI  on  Mon Feb 13, 2006  at  10:43 AM
Wow, if you people are that desperate to lose weight, you ought to try what I did a few years ago: break your jaw and eat only as many tiny, tasteless bits of food that you can stand before the pain hits. It's a wonderful way to lose weight and as a bonus you'll get medical leave from school/work (you know, in case the fake doctor notes don't come through).
Posted by Iria  on  Mon Feb 13, 2006  at  06:30 PM
You all are dumb, I mean it. Your moralizing obesity. It is a medical affliction which WILL cause early death. People are desperate to avoid this, they will use speed, throw up, work out till they get a heart attack. Instead of embracing a 'not so perfect' solution, you want to tell people how dumb they are to want to try this. This can only come out of thin people's mouths, or people who have TEMPORARILY lost the weight. WAKE UP, if people could lose the wieght they would have. They don't want to die early, they don't want to be excluded from society, they don't want diabetes or joint problems.
What we should be saying is...ok there are some side effects, can we manage these? How do we manage these? Stop moralizing this problem as some sort of lack of will power. People spend thier lives in the gym and on a diet and get no where.
I used to be thin, but hurt myself and gained a lot wieght. I CANT work out like I used to especially not at my wieght. I would love to find a tapeworm, and if the doctors would stop looking at us as if we were winers and actually try to help us manage the side effects...genetically altered/attenuated worms....GOSH. You all are seeming to say that a worm is riskier then gastric bypass surgery, or any of a number of these horendous drugs. Remember Terry Shribo? Smell the coffee, people are DYING of this.
I heard that you can order them from mexico, but I am still looking, anyone know more. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Posted by ran  on  Tue Mar 07, 2006  at  01:31 AM
I have bulimia, and I started about three months ago. The last time I threw up, though, I saw something that I thought was a tapeworm. It was long, pale, and had lines around it that were just a little darker than the rest in bands. Could this be? Could I have tapeworms in my stomach, not just my lower intestines? I'd really like to know, so I can get rid of it.

((Oh, and, just so you know, I hadn't eaten spaghetti or anything of that sort.))
Posted by Eryn  in  Colorado, USA  on  Wed Mar 29, 2006  at  04:07 PM
yo... seriously.. wtf.
check out the wikiepedia entry on tapeworms...
okay, u may not get to the worst extent. But an 80 foot tape worm in my stomach is more than enuf to turn me completely off even thinkin about this crazy idea. Good luck to any of u that have the insane idea to try it!
Posted by julian  on  Thu Apr 06, 2006  at  10:24 AM
If you're obese, you need to lose weight before your size comprimises your health to the point of no return. Diet and excersize are interchangeable -- each will make you lose weight individually, and together they work more effectively -- but there is no magic diet pill to make you lose weight without any effort - if you're looking for this, you're an idiot, and if you really have absoultely no self control than you can by all means ingest a tapeworm but don't think that you won't gain all of the weight back once you shit out your foot-long swollen worm. If you stuff your face and don't think of the consequences, YOU ARE GOING TO BE UNHEALTHY AND OVERWEIGHT. It is a fact. Last year I thought I was so brilliant when I, too, started having bulimic tendencies so that I could eat whatever I wanted and "lose weight." News flash: bulimia doesn't make you lose weight ... it just makes you feel miserable and constantly hungry, as well as hating yourself for having no self control. Make permanent changes in your lifestyle and eating habits. Don't ingest a fucking tapeworm. The thought of it makes me not want to eat ever again, jesus christ.
Posted by Lia  in  Kentucky  on  Mon May 15, 2006  at  05:05 PM
hay Ang,
Posted by hannes  on  Tue May 16, 2006  at  02:00 PM
blank stare well fokes i am 33 yrs old and very much over 14stone look out of shape tryedall types od diets atkins ect to no avail so i thought i would try tape worms can they kill you ? any help would be most greatfull leon from england
Posted by leon  on  Tue May 23, 2006  at  09:59 AM
>> Too much church, not enough school, that's what's wrong with America....

How about not enough school, not enough church, and entirely too much Hollywood?
Posted by Lynn  in  US  on  Tue May 23, 2006  at  11:12 AM
I would like to point out to some of the people on this website that there are many people out their who can't just stop eating junk and exercise and miraculously lose the 20lbs they wanted to. I have been exercising regularly for about 3 years now and monitoring my food intake, I lost a good 30lbs, but I still have 20lbs more to go and my weight has only stayed the same for the past year. For me this is mainly due to genetics and hypothyroidism. Some people just can't lose weight easily, whether it is because of medical or genetic reasons.
I considered the tapeworm myself, but the more I read, the more stupid it does start to sound. Now they have so many surgeries you can take (gastric bypasses, tummy tucks, liposuction) I don't know how much the bypass is but the others are about $5000 where I am. I would rather spend $5000 and have a qualified licensed professional cut me open take out my fat and stitch me back up, then order a random pill (that could have anything in it) from Mexico, probably pay at least $100 for it, so it can give me a 10m long parasite that will eat my insides. Just a thought!
Posted by Sarah  in  Canada  on  Wed May 31, 2006  at  03:22 PM
Dear Chabrydis from Hell,
>>"It's staggering how VANITY can lead people to do such amazingly stupid things."<<
clearly the girls who are trying to diet with tapeworms have loss touch with rationality. They are likely suffering from an eating disorder which is a SERIOUS MEDICAL ILLNESS. they need professional help, not some ignoramus chiding them for having a DISEASE. Heroin addicts go on the black market to try to find cheap highs. Likewise, these girls are trying to find easy wt loss. I wouldn't be surprised if you girls are actually UNDERWEIGHT or normal weight, yet still feel the compulsive drive to lose more. Or, perhaps you feel *addicted* to bingeing (and perhaps, purging) and you see the tapeworm as a 'glorious' solution---you can binge all you want and not have to purge anymore and STILL maintain weight! nope, doesn't work that way.
So yes, Charbrydis from Hell, perhaps vanity can make one do stupid things. unfortunately, this is a moot point for this thread. why don't you try re-phrasing your insult into something quasi-credible . . . Try this instead: ADDICTION and MENTAL ILLNESS can make one do seemingly (to the rest of the world) IRRATIONAL things.

oh, and why i'm on this site? well, i'm a recovered anorexic and tried the tape worm thing once myself. i nearly died from a heart attack as the worm through off my already imbalance electrolytes and leached the sparse reserve of nutrients i had left in my body.

just wanted to save others from going through the same.

much love,
Posted by eli  in  Stanford University, CA, USA  on  Tue Jun 20, 2006  at  10:20 AM
I refuse to accept the label 'ignoramous' from someone who can't capitalize or spell properly, and who admits to having tried something as suicidally dangerous (and STUPID) as the tapeworm diet. wink
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Tue Jun 20, 2006  at  12:30 PM
Im Ashley Smith. I am doing a study of live
tapeworms and tapeworm
for my school. It is my assignmnt to find live
tapeworms or tapeworm
from infected aniimals. If you recieve an infected
animal with
tapeworms or
even better live tapeworm eggs would it be possible if
you can save
them and
send them to me?
Much appreciated,
Posted by Ashley Smith  on  Mon Jun 26, 2006  at  07:16 PM
Posted by Amanda Robinson  in  welholme road Grimsby  on  Wed Jun 28, 2006  at  07:21 AM
Posted by YOU GUYS ARE STUPID AS HELL  on  Mon Jul 10, 2006  at  08:34 PM
Im a college student doing a project on silly hoaxes like these and im trying to find people who have tried these things or have friends that tried this and i want to interview them and know what happened and if they still have the tapeworm segments or fleas that have tapeworms in them. THis would be awsome for my presentation in class. If you dont knw of anyone who has a tapworm or bought pills or has a pet even with a tapeworm that has fleas that would be awsome but if you dont then please leave me alone STUPID AS HELL.
Posted by Ashley Smith  on  Wed Jul 12, 2006  at  05:04 PM
I agree with eli, because over eating is like being addicted to any drug. The only(and major) difference being that you need food to live so you can never really give it up. I know what this is like but you have to ask yourself: What if this doesnt work and die younger than I would have and still be overweight? The only memory of you would be a fat parasite infected corpse. The search for acceptance and beauty can lead people to do stupid things. I can understand the want for a quick way out but its not because we are lazy, its because we feel that this problem is beyond our control and in a way it is. While it looks like an easy way out its not, the side effects are more unhealthy than being overweight. I am not telling any one to do anything but just ask yourself what is more important: Your appearence or your health?

Don't be such a dick
Posted by no side guy  in  Canada  on  Sat Jul 29, 2006  at  07:43 AM
I am so glad I found this website! I was searching for the pills but seeing the side effects scared me off.You would think with all the advances we have made that there would be a relatively safe miracle pill that would work!
Posted by Lisa  in  Dyersville, Ia  on  Fri Aug 18, 2006  at  05:27 PM
Several posters mentioned that tapeworms are nutrient depleting. This is so broad an assertion as to be useless and normally I wouldn't even address it except I know where this misunderstanding comes from. One tapeworm, the fish tapeworm, does compete for vitamin B-12 because of where it attaches in the human intestine. The beef tapeworm binds lower and as a result does not deplete this "nutrient". Furthermore, calories are a nutrient and we have this board because some people want to deplete this very "nutrient". An interesting aside, to demonstrate how sophisticated these organisms are, the tapeworm does not cause weight loss by directly competing for calories with it's human host. The tapeworm can increase and decrease the speed (transit time) of the human digestive tract, thus allowing the worm to optimize its interaction with the digested material. This creates an inefficiency in the host digestive system that causes the host to extract fewer calories from their food. And it is why someone who loses twenty pounds from a tapeworm infection doesn't have twenty pounds of tapeworm in them.
When I write about tapeworms I tend to ignore the 'ick' factor. The idea that worms are gross is a normal reaction, but one I find unconstructive to a fruitful discussion of the topic. If you are one of the majority that finds the idea of taking a tapeworm repulsive I'll try to save you some time and energy. This isn't for you, I get it. But for the rest of us I want to consider that the vast majority of life on this planet is parasitic some good and some bad. In fact, our intestines, right now, are already teeming with parasites. We don't typically think of it this way but bacteria and viruses are parasites. And without intestinal parasites we'd all be dead in a few days... Hope this makes things a little clearer.
Posted by garin  on  Tue Oct 17, 2006  at  08:25 AM
Wow, there is a tremendous amount of misinformation in these posts so I'll try to clear some of it up. First of all, there are many different types of tapeworms. The species that are important to this discussion are the tapeworms that most commonly infect humans; cow, pig and fish. Some of these are dangerous to humans and one is not. The tapeworms of the pig and the fish can treat the human body as an intermediate host which means the larvae can migratite throughout the body and become cysts. This condition is called cysticercosis and can be life-threatening. However, the cow tapeworm cannot do this as humans are the primary or definitive host. This tapeworm, Taneia saginatta, is the worm I think most people would be interested in using for weight loss. The cow tapeworm is a hermaphrodite which means when it becomes sexually mature, at about three months, it's tail end swings up and mates with the younger male segments near the head. These now fertilized segments then migrate out the anus (unpleasant but hardly a medical emergency). The segments called proglottids contain thousands of eggs which are not infectious to humans. So, despite what some posters have suggested contaminated feces is only infectious to cows. Human infection can only result from eating the viable cysts found in raw beef. There are no tapeworm pills that contain the eggs of tapeworms and even if there were the eggs are only infectious to cattle.
Now it would be possible to put some cysts in a capsule and ingest those, but the cysts are temperature sensitive and can only last a few days outside a living cow. So the likelihood of getting anything living from Mexico is completely improbable. Your best bet is to travel to a country that is still endemic with beef tapeworm and get the cysts yourself from a slaughterhouse. The problem here is that the life cycle of the beef tapeworm in very easy to disrupt so there are very few places on the planet left with lots of beef tapeworm. At this point a pretty clear picture should be emerging for anyone familiar with the basic principles of economics. Very rare = very expensive.
I saw one poster put the price at $100.00 dollars a pill. The bad news that's not even in the ballpark. But, the good news the worms do help you lose weight. And it's good, sustainable weight lose at about one to two pounds a week. Bad news, there is a rebound effect. When the worm becomes sexually mature you should kill it. There are several reasons for this: 1) the segments are motile and can wiggle themselves into places they shouldn't be e.g. the appendix or the pancreatic duct 2.)creepy crawlies migrating out your butt can be really gross. Good news is it only takes a single dose of praziquantel to kill your visitor and then you can always take another worm. Over the course of a year that adds up to substantial weight loss.
Posted by garin  on  Tue Oct 17, 2006  at  08:32 AM
To any who who agrees with ingesting a worm,

There are children in less fortunate countries suffering because worms are eating them alive. They are being robbed of the little nutrient they do have. Get YO FAT ASS UP AND MOVE !! Stop trying to make people feel soory for you.
Posted by auri  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  02:40 AM
I just want to make it clear before I say another word. I am not in support of people ingesting parasites. Formalities out of the way...

I must say that all of you making such insensitive comments about obese people, you are only pushing them further towards harmful "treatments" such as ingesting worms. Take one look at psychology and you will realize this. Calling someone fat, telling them to "get off their fat asses" or saying that they are going to die from obesity only accomplished one thing > it makes people MORE self conscious about themselves. This decrease in self-esteem leads to desparation which leads to people trying anything to lose weight.

If people honestly want to lose weight, here is my best advice. Stay away from parasites. Stay away from dangerous black-market treatments and illegal drugs. If somebody wants to lose weight I really suggest that they go and see their doctor. Your doctor can help you. There are medications such as Meridia (sibutramine) and other types of amphetamine (legal, safe ones) class medications that control your apetite. There are medications such as Xenical to limit absorbtion of fats. Only your doctor can refer you for the tests for conditions such as hypothyroidism and other endocrinological conditions, and only your doctor can offer treatment. Your doctor can help you on a plan, including diet, exercise, and medication to help you. Now this may be the Canadian way of thinking because of public healthcare, but only your doctor can help you in these cases.

As a last resort, attempt to get a gastric bypass, stomach staple, or Lap-Band surgery to help you lose weight.

Remember DEED...Doctor, Effort, Exercise, and Diet. The best way to lose weight is to do the DEED.

Good luck, and stay safe.
Posted by Josh Thomson  in  Canada  on  Thu Nov 30, 2006  at  03:35 AM
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