classic cotton ballsBack in June, Eddie Murphy's daughter, model Bria Murphy revealed some seriously extreme diet secrets of the girls she works with. Like  "people eating the cotton balls with orange juice." If it wasn't already completely disturbing to think about models chowing down on cotton balls to "feel full," just wait 'til you hear this ... Apparently, the freaky tactic is a much more common diet trend than we realized.

According to Good Morning America, the Cotton Ball Diet has been described in chat rooms, YouTube videos, and all over the web and instructs people to eat up to five cotton balls dipped in orange juice, lemonade, or a smoothie to keep unwanted pounds at bay. Some dieters eat cotton balls before a meal to limit food intake (guess they've never heard of the old-school, effective, and healthy glass of water or an apple trick, eh?), while others eat just cotton balls. So. Scary.

Brandi Koskie, managing editor of the website Diets in Review, notes how dangerous it can be, because not only are cotton ball dieters not consuming enough calories or anything of nutritional value, but most cotton balls are made of bleached, polyester fibers chock-full of chemicals. You could choke, suffer malnutrition, or even end up with an obstruction of the intestinal tract, a trapped mass called a bezoar.

I hate the word diet, and the idea that this should even be CALLED a "diet" is crazy. As Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association tells GMA:

When we talk about something like this we certainly aren't talking about health anymore. We're talking about weight and size and certainly something that is potentially very, very dangerous.

She's so right. And if this isn't proof positive that we have a horrifying epidemic on our hands, I don't know what is. An epidemic of (generally young) women who are receiving extremely twisted, false messages about beauty and their bodies that they're resorting to something as dangerous as this. And that's not the fault of one diet or group or the web. It's stemming from overall social attitudes about weight and health -- and judging from this freaky trend, it couldn't be clearer that these messages desperately need to change. 

Do diet trends like this scare you? Why do you think people are resorting to this to lose weight?

 

Image via Amazon