Our bodies and beauty industry standards have always affected one another. For the past decade, the fashion industry and pop culture seemed to overwhelmingly appreciate big butts, flat tummies, big lips, etc. Such physical appearances soon translated into beauty standards. Thus resulting in an increasing number of plastic surgeries like implants, botox, lip fillers, fat transfers, etc.

Recently, the fashion/beauty industry standards have shifted to slim waistlines, size zero figures, and heroin chic. All these looks are associated with looking thin, frail, pale, and almost zombie-like. This has prompted many women to lose weight through rigorous workouts, fat extraction surgeries, skipping meals, and following extreme diets. Among these diets is the most controversial and deadly ‘cotton ball diet’. This diet has reportedly been followed by numerous runway models to stay thin since 2013.

What is a cotton ball diet?

It is ‘exactly’ as the name signifies, eating cotton balls for weight loss. The diet involved dipping five to six cotton balls in a fruit juice of choice and consuming it. Some women consume it as meals, and some consume it before meals.

Reasons for the cotton ball diet

  1. It tricks the body into feeling full without eating food.
  2. Eating it before meals will reduce the meal size consumed.
  3. Reduced meal sizes will help reduce weight.
  4. It helps in skipping meals without feeling hungry.

Dangers of the cotton ball diet

Cotton is derived from plants but does not get digested like fruits and vegetables. Even worse, some cotton balls are not even made of cotton. They are synthetic cotton balls made from polyester. This poses a lot of health risks to the human system when consumed. Here are some cotton ball diet dangers:

  • The cotton balls stay in the intestines without passing and cause bezoars which need to be surgically removed. If left unremoved, it will cause death.
  • Even after being dipped in juice, cotton balls pose the threat of choking.
  • Cotton balls stay in the digestive tract and prevent other food and liquids from passing through, which leads to the death of healthy tissues and infection.
  • Cotton balls processed with bleach and other chemicals can create dioxins in the body, which are found to cause cancer. 
  • Dioxins also cause hormonal imbalance, fertility issues, immunity, and developmental issues.

Cotton ball diet and eating disorders

The fatal results of eating cotton balls for weight loss have placed it on the borderline of eating and psychological disorders like anorexia nervosa. There are also discussions about how eating cotton balls is a form of pica, which is the practice of eating nonfood items like paper and clay. Pica is a form of eating disorder where people crave something inedible. This is driven by the lack of particular nutrients in the body.

Seek help

People who dislike the way they look and are obsessed with looking thin are more prone to try the cotton ball diet for weight loss. People whose profession demand fashion industry beauty standards are also more susceptible to trying this diet. Kindly seek physical and psychological help immediately if you or someone you know suffers from the cotton ball diet.