'Cotton ball' diet poses major health risks

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by KING 5 HealthLink

khou.com

Posted on November 23, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 7:45 PM

It started with supermodels. Now, younger girls are doing it.

It’s the cotton ball diet, a bizarre and dangerous new diet trend that parents need to know about.

In the pursuit of body perfection, dieting can take some strange turns. But, this might be the most bizarre yet. New videos on the internet have popularized eating cotton balls dipped in juice as a quick way to lose weight.

“It's my understanding there are a lot of super models and celebrities attempting this,” Dr. Fred Campbell said.  “And I’m sure young women emulate women and their figures."

Campbell says it’s a dangerous way to fool the body.

"Since cotton is non-digestible and has something of a sponge-type effect, it might be an initial feeling of fullness in the stomach," Campbell said.

Not only is there a risk of choking and malnutrition, these fibers can build up in the body.

“It possibly could cause some sort of obstructive effect lower in the intestines,” Campbell said. “I would consider that a fairly dangerous technique.”

Most cotton balls aren’t even made out of cotton, but rather bleached polyester fibers that contain a lot of chemicals. Doctors warn that this habit could become life-threatening. 

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