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Cotton Ball diet?! Who could possibly think this was a good idea?

Dec. 2, 2013 at 4:50 PM ET

The Cotton Ball Diet: What Fresh Hell?
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The Cotton Ball Diet: What Fresh Hell?

Seriously, what is going on here?

Just a few months ago we wrote about this odd and frightening slim-down tactic practiced by models who feel the pressure to look extra-sleek on the runway. And now it seems this bizarre eating trend has become more mainstream.

As reported on ABCNews.com, the Cotton Ball Diet is the latest weight loss craze. Yes, you read that right, cotton balls.

At first glance, I assumed it meant the size of a portion should equal the size of a cotton ball (which is still atrocious). No. It means substituting cotton balls for food, so a “meal” will consist of five cotton balls dipped in some type of liquid, like juice or a smoothie. Other dieters will ingest a handful of these beverage-soaked cotton balls before eating an entrée in order to feel fuller faster.

Along with the very (obvious) health hazards that can result from eating foreign objects—choking, malnutrition, bowel or intestinal tract obstruction which could all lead to death—there is an even more troublesome going on: a lot of the girls demonstrating this “eating plan” were tweens and teens. 

ABC News spoke with Lynn Grefe, president and the CEO of the National Eating Disorder Association, confirmed that this “food fad” is actually a form of a disordered eating behavior. "When we talk about something like this we certainly aren't talking about health anymore," she said. "We're talking about weight and size and certainly something that is potentially very, very dangerous."

Ladies, downing cotton balls—or any object, for that matter—is not a way of living. It’s a form of torture to your body, along with your mind and your soul. On a physical level, you can feel fuller by eating fiber and drinking water with each meal. On an emotional level, you will feel fuller by consulting with an eating specialist.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.


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