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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?
Categories: Body Manipulation, Food
Posted by Alex on Fri Apr 22, 2005
Comments (229)
More from the Hoax Museum Archives:
I have often heard and read that before patent medicines began to be regulated (circa 1910), there were several weight-loss pills on the market that were in fact capsules containing tapeworm segments. How well or badly this worked out, I don't know.

When I or somebody else was eating large amounts of food, my Mom used to say facetiously, "You must have a tapeworm." I always assumed this was an old saying, but maybe Mom made it up herself.
Posted by Big Gary C  on  Fri Apr 22, 2005  at  07:03 AM
Actually it does work. A friend of mine used to be lil on the chunky side. He got tapeworm and now he's skinny. But that was an unexpected outcome. However it is still dangerous, consuming a lot of nutrients in its wake.
Posted by Lady Bug  on  Fri Apr 22, 2005  at  07:30 AM
Yeah, old time jockeys used to use them to stay at ridiculously low weights. Apparently it was a last resort uncomfortable kind of method.
Posted by J. Nolan  on  Fri Apr 22, 2005  at  09:30 AM
Damn. I actually considered that as a diet thing, you can order them from mexico.
Posted by Ang  on  Fri Apr 22, 2005  at  10:30 AM
I've heard people say that you must have a worm, if you're eating a lot, but look particularly skinny.

I've heard though, that when they come out it's not so fun.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Fri Apr 22, 2005  at  06:42 PM
>>>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? <<<

Your stomach? No. Too much acid. Try your small intestine. Much harder to "pull something out" of your small intestine.

Someone is really stupid enough to think a tapeworm is a little worm that sits in your tummy and eats your food, kinda sad. The reality is, it's a huge (tiny circumference, but can be many yards long) parasite that coils in your bowels, leaching vital nutrients and inflicting loathsome discomfort and disease.

Another urban legend based on ignorance and immaturity. You know what I blame? Too much church, not enough school, that's what's wrong with America....
Posted by Barghest  on  Fri Apr 22, 2005  at  07:08 PM
I bet nobody who's ever had experience with free-range cats would even consider this particular idiocy. Thank goodness, the medicine that's now used for cat tapeworm breaks up the worm as well as getting it out of the body. I'm told that the medicine they used to use detached it, but it wasn't really a pleasant experience for whoever scooped the litter.
Posted by Ledasmom  on  Sat Apr 23, 2005  at  06:46 AM
I remember a story from the old Jack Palance version of the "Ripley's" tv show. A man going to India or Asia in general deliberately ingested a tapeworm because he believed it would somehow protect him from any ill effects from the food and water. He supposedly ate anything he wanted, and even drank from the notoriously polluted Ganges river, and never suffered anything. Just before he went home, he took some medicine and flushed the worm out. Quite a few feet of it.
Posted by Frederick J. Barnett  on  Sat Apr 23, 2005  at  09:36 AM
Frederick, I can't see how having tapeworms would protect you from any other illnesses.

Yes, Ledasmom, one of my cats had tapeworms when I first got him (he was the orphan kitten of a feral mother). It took several rounds of the worm medicine to get rid of them. I'll resist describing all the signs of the infestation, but I agree, it wasn't pleasant.
Posted by Big Gary C  on  Sat Apr 23, 2005  at  03:37 PM
Tapeworms aren't usually used therapeutically this way, except in black marketeering/non-professional "doctors". You'd have to very carefully monitor your diet to ensure you were getting enough vitamins etc. Its about as clever as using bulimia, but it doesn't mean it doesn't work.

However I saw a BBC doco ("Bodysnatchers") where they have been using miscellaneous gutworms as immunosuppressant symbiotes in hypersensitivity diseases. Apparently because your body is busy attacking worms, it doesn't get so stimulated by allergens etc.
Posted by zayzayem  on  Sun Apr 24, 2005  at  12:44 AM
Big Gary C: Well, like they said on the show, "Believe it, or not." 😊
This story just reminded me of that one.
Posted by Frederick J. Barnett  on  Sun Apr 24, 2005  at  09:14 AM
I remember hearing about a study where internal parasites were used to treat inflammatory bowel disease. Apparently one side effect of modern hygiene and water treatment might be an increase in immune system diseases like inflammatory bowel, since our immune systems aren't fighting parasites.

Tapeworms (and other worms) can also cause cysts in your brain or spinal cord. As a sidenote, I've also seen dogs and cats vomit up worms if they have a severe infestation. And tapeworms also release their segments into the feces, so the first clue that your pet has a tapeworm is the presence of the segments stuck to its tail area. Doesn't sound to me like that's worth a little weight loss.
Posted by hippievet  on  Sun Apr 24, 2005  at  12:52 PM
>> Too much church, not enough school, that's what's wrong with America....

Amen brother. (Pun intended, but I really am agreeing with you.)
Posted by Bill B.  on  Mon Apr 25, 2005  at  11:50 AM
Man, I just remembered how much I miss the old Jack Palance "Believe It Or Not".

Of course, it was mostly the way he said it...that raspy voice of his could make anything sound scary and interesting.

Nothing like sitting down to Sunday dinner as a ten-year-old and learning about the New Orleans Axe Murderer.

I wonder if it's out on DVD yet?
Posted by Barghest  on  Mon Apr 25, 2005  at  07:41 PM
where can i buy tapeworm..can i order from a website? my friend got it and is now so thin..can u help?
Posted by rachel  on  Sun May 15, 2005  at  06:56 AM
>> Too much church, not enough school, that's what's wrong with America<<
shut the fuck up know it all shit face -- (excuse the language) but number one you can say one thing without having to make other people feel uncomfortable and youre an ass for acting like you know everything and making fun of what she said. sorry that you feel so bad about youself that you have to get on this website and make someone else feel stupid -- what a douche
Posted by tyler  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  05:30 PM

Don't be silly!

PS - Tyler, around here we prefer the term "faggity douche bag" if you don't mind!

Posted by Mark-N-Isa  in  Midwest USA  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  06:08 PM
Just for the record, I have never, nor do I ever intend to, use the term "faggity douche-bag" in any of my posts here on MOH. I'm sure MarkNjen uses the term "We" with a great deal of literary license, but I do not consider myself part of any "We" that uses such infantile, vulgar slurs. I have been known however, to refer to Stephen as a "boner-ignorant twit", for my own reasons... Check the Joker Boner thread if you wanna know more. ty
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  06:46 PM
Actually, you only get the tapeworm cysts in the muscles if you ingest the eggs, in other words your feces would have to get in your mouth.
Posted by dima  on  Sun May 22, 2005  at  09:22 PM
I want to know where to get the tapeworm. you may think I'm crazy, but I really want to try it. if any one knows please let me know.
Posted by melissa  on  Sun Nov 13, 2005  at  06:05 PM
"I want to know where to get the tapeworm. you may think I'm crazy, but I really want to try it. if any one knows please let me know.
Posted by melissa on Sun Nov 13, 2005 at 05:05 PM"

why would you be interested where to get it. its disgusting. a tapeworm.. inside your intestines. if you need to diet and you think thats the way to do it, stop being lazy and get off your ass and excersise.. don't put a worm inside yourself.
Posted by krysta  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  06:52 PM
for your information I am very active it is just that I have shin splints so bad that I have multiple hairline fractures, which i have been going to physical therapy for 4 years to help fix it. it makes it very painful to many high impact exercises so i'm stuck with swimming( which i hate) and rollerblading when there isn't snow on the ground( 8 months of the year where i'm from). so if you do know where to get a tape worm then i would be delighted to know where because i still want to get one.
Posted by melissa  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  08:42 PM
i've got tapeworm and i am not thin, i do not have a flat stomach or skinny anything else, i am not kidding so don't bother getting a tapeworm it's not nice, believe me.
Posted by carrie  on  Fri Nov 25, 2005  at  09:32 AM
I'm an Arizonan, and I wanted to point out that the article you've referenced is a hilarious column written by a man who would really love this site... The content comes from readers who write in with off-the-wall questions about topics ranging from the weather to, apparently, tapeworms... Mr. Thompson then does "research" either on the Interwebs or by calling a friend in the field and publishes the question and answer in his column. I read the column faithfully, sometimes even before I get to the comics...
Posted by andrew  on  Thu Dec 29, 2005  at  03:46 PM
Cant you get a tapeworm from eating raw meat?
Posted by Leah  on  Wed Jan 11, 2006  at  12:05 PM
I really want to find these tapeworm pills. I have been dieting and exercising for a year now and can't lose the weight. If anyone knows how and where to purchase these pills, please let me know. I'm tired of being overweight, and I'm tired of trying every diet out there with no results.
Posted by Jenn  on  Wed Jan 11, 2006  at  04:48 PM
please ! please ! help me ! I don't find tapeworm pills on the web !
where ?
Posted by carole  on  Thu Jan 26, 2006  at  10:17 AM
If you morons really want to lose weight you should try contracting cancer. It's a wonder diet.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Thu Jan 26, 2006  at  10:31 AM
thanks ! but .....I want no cancer ....I want juste diet !
Posted by carole  on  Thu Jan 26, 2006  at  10:36 AM
Hey Charybdis, If it's such a bad idea, then why are you on this page anyway? This is talk about tapeworm pills. What did you type in to get you here? You have cancer to know? If you don't like it, shut the hell up about it.
Posted by Jenn  on  Thu Jan 26, 2006  at  11:44 AM
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