Consuming large amounts of cotton is what some people are doing with a goal lose weight. It's called 'the cotton ball diet' and experts say it's extremely dangerous.
There are hundreds of dietary supplements hitting the shelves every day that come in pill and liquid form, but some people are opting out for cotton. A person takes cotton ball, soaks it in juice then eats it. Dr. Bruce Smith of Southwest Georgia Pediatrics says doing this can cause some serious health problems.
"It's just incredibly bad cause it can't go anywhere. It can't go through the little pylorus down to the small intestine and it can possibly cause intestinal obstruction," Dr. Smith said.
That's because the cotton forms a bezoar, a large chunk of material that collects in your intestine and if it's not removed naturally, surgery is required. It can also cause aspiration pneumonia, which is when small particles in the cotton enter your lungs causing them to swell and possibly become infected. Dr. Smith says some cotton contains chemicals, and even natural cotton is just as hazardous.
"Some of them are made of fibers like your shirt," Dr. Smith shares. "But who would eat part of their shirt before their meal?"
Manager of Aspire Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services, Lisa Spears says people sometimes take on things that can potentially be harmful because they other people doing it.
"That will cause people not to do any research, not to look up the risks or the harmful factors that are involved and they will naively go into a new situation," Spears said.
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