I’m going to be up front with you. I absolutely do not recommend the tapeworm diet.
You may have seen the tapeworm diet mentioned in a Tyra Banks show years ago where the diet was discussed as a means of losing weight. To Tyra’s credit, she was actually speaking against using this diet. More recently, Khloe Kardashian made a statement in one of her shows that she was considering ingesting a tapeworm to lose weight. Not cool!
The beef tapeworm, Taenia saginata, is the tapeworm that has been publicized and used for weight loss. There are other types of tapeworms present in pork and fish, but these are not the tapeworms that are used in the quest for weight loss.
A human will acquire the infection by ingesting tapeworms eggs present in contaminated, under cooked meat. The eggs will enter the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and hatch producing larvae which eventually mature to the adult form. The tapeworm will attach itself to the GI tract with a scolex which is a spiky appendage on top of the tapeworm’s head. It then begins to feed from the food that you are eating.
The tapeworm not only consumes some of the caloric intake, but also leeches vitamins and minerals from the intestinal tract. This can result in anemia and fatigue.
Other potential side effects include nausea, weakness, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and ascites (fluid in the abdominal cavity). There is also the possibility that the tapeworm will reproduce so prolifically that an intestinal blockage may result. And, yes, one of the byproducts is weight loss. But is the weight loss worth ingesting the tapeworm? Absolutely not.
The only way to get rid of the parasite once you are infected is to take Praziquantel which is an antiparasitic medication. You then pass the dead tapeworm(s) in the feces.
The diagnosis of tapeworm is done by examining the stool or by performing an imaging study such as a CAT scan or an MRI.
Selling tapeworm eggs is against the law in the United States. Apparently, tapeworm eggs can be bought in other countries like Mexico and Russia. Buyer beware!
The only way to lose weight in a consistent, healthy manner is to monitor your diet and exercise. This is not a secret, but we often pursue the easy and fast results. There are a lot of crazy diets out there, but this is more than just crazy. This is dangerous.
Wishing you success in your weight loss and maintenance, Pablo.