You think that horror flick you watched or that haunted house you visited was scary? The most terrifying thing I've ever seen was not produced by Wes Craven or found in a theme park; it's what I see some people do to themselves to lose weight. Take a look at these seven scary diets — but reader beware if you're easily grossed out!
It's called the K-E diet, and it promises that you'll lose 20 pounds in 10 days. Sold to brides-to-be as a quick way to lose the last 10, 15 or 20 pounds before the wedding, it involves inserting a feeding tube into the nose that runs to the stomach.
The dieter — victim? — is fed a slow, steady drip of protein and fat, adding up to 800 calories per day, and zero carbs. The pitch for this crazy program says that it's safe and doctor-supervised, although the patient is not hospitalized during the diet — they carry the food solution around with them.
According to ABC News, which originally broke the story about this nightmare on diet street, doctors charge $1,500 for the 10-day plan. Side effects — in addition to shrinkage of your wallet — include fatigue, bad breath, constipation and strangers staring at the hose in your nose.
Even though this one is so creepy it could be an ideal way for a horror movie villain to slowly torture his victims to death, the tapeworm diet really has been used for weight loss. (Urban legend says Maria Callas did it.) It came to public attention when the "Tyra Banks Show" did a "gross-out" spot about the diet. Audience members squirmed as the doctor pulled a 15-foot tapeworm out of a jar live on camera.
Purchasing these parasites for weight loss is illegal in the United States and not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but you can allegedly order (illegally) from countries like Venezuela or go to Mexico and pay a couple grand for beef tapeworm larvae.
After you consume the "worm egg pill," it hatches in your digestive tract, latches onto your intestinal wall and feeds off the energy and nutrients from the food you eat, growing larger and larger. After a few months, you return to the clinic for anti-parasitic medication that kills the worm. The dead creepy crawler then passes out your body (try to visualize that if you want to really gross yourself out).
Aside from that fact that it's vile and disgusting, what's wrong with this idea? On the mild end, the tapeworm can lead to pain, nausea and a bloated stomach. It can also compete with you for vital nutrients, leading to deficiencies or anemia. At the severe end, the hermaphroditic tapeworm can lay eggs inside you. Infestation of certain species can travel beyond the digestive tract into the circulation and can also lead to cysts in the liver, lungs, eyes and spinal cord or brain.
Using tapeworms for weight loss can be fatal. No source for the story was cited, but according to Spike TV's "1,000 Ways To Die," a woman lost 60 pounds after ingesting a tapeworm for weight loss. The worm grew to 20 feet and then laid eggs, which burrowed through her intestinal wall and into her circulation where the infestation of worms promptly killed her.