Facing constant societal pressure to be thin, some girls and women will go to extreme lengths to fit the unrealistic standards of beauty portrayed in the media. And the latest fad that some females are falling for is the so-called cotton ball diet, which can pose serious threats to health.
Videos are being uploaded on YouTube with young girls showing just how to do the diet, which involves dipping cotton balls into orange juice, lemonade or a smoothie before swallowing them whole. The idea is that the cotton balls will make them feel full and satisfied, so that they eat less and lose weight.
“You're really kind of playing Russian roulette when you use these types of diets,” Jennifer Lombardi, a treatment professional at the Eating Recovery Center of California, told KCRA in Sacramento. In addition to malnutrition, those who take part in this die also risk choking on the fibers.
Earlier this year, model Bria Murphy, daughter of actor Eddie Murphy, spoke on “Good Morning America” about this dangerous dieting tactic.
“I’ve heard of people eating the cotton balls with the orange juice … They dip it in the orange juice and then they eat the cotton balls to help them feel full, because the cotton’s not doing anything. It’s just dissolving. And it makes you think you’re full, but you’re not.”
The cotton ball diet is not the first dangerous and extreme diet fad to become popular. In April, former Vogue editor Kristie Clements revealed that some models resort to eating tissues to stay skinny. Speaking to "Entertainment Tonight" about her latest book, "The Vogue Factor," Clements recounted a dinner meeting with a modeling agent. "I was having dinner with a New York agent who said to me that a few of the girls had resorted to eating tissues," she said. "I’d never heard of such a thing. I said, ‘Oh, what did that do?’ And, apparently, they swelled in your stomach and made you feel full, and I definitely heard that some girls were unwell and starving themselves and were on drips. Over time, I did hear that."
Back in 2010, French magazine Grazia named the “air diet” as the “it” way to lose weight. Madonna was linked to this fad diet promoted by the French after she and some other celebrities were featured in a Dolce & Gabbana campaign holding food to their mouths but not consuming it. There is only one rule: Consume nothing but a water and salt soup concoction. The concept comes from breatharianism, which is the belief that one can live on energy from sunlight and does not need nourishment from food.