Tapeworm Diet: History, Methods, and Dangers

weight-loss-tapewormsIt is undeniable that people will resort to extreme measures in a desperate attempt to shed those extra pounds, but ingesting tapeworms in order to lose weight is not only a radical fad diet method but also an extremely dangerous one.

Thankfully the use of tapeworms as a diet aid is illegal in the US and for good reason.

Tapeworm infestation can result in:

  • The formation of cysts in the liver, eyes, brain, and spinal cord with potentially lethal consequences.
  • Intestinal Blockages
  • Malnutrition

Tapeworm Diet Basics

Although it is not possible to attempt the tapeworm diet in most countries, it is being offered at some places in Mexico. When you arrive at the treatment location you are given beef tapeworm cysts that have been identified microscopically. This is vitally important because some cows may host pig tapeworms, which are very dangerous.

The tapeworm interferes with your digestion and absorption of nutrients, which means that you can consume more calories and still lose weight. However, the parasite also competes for vitamins and other important nutrients, which may result in a nutritional deficiency.

According to some scientists, tapeworm infestation can result in a loss of one to two pounds per week. Once the target weight loss is reached, a deworming agent is given, which kills the tapeworm so it can be expelled.

Costs and Expenses

It appears that the treatment is only available in Mexico at the time of this review and the approximate cost is $1500.

Pros of the Tapeworm Diet

  • Weight loss is very likely.
  • Some scientists believe that tapeworms can also help to alleviate allergies such as hay fever.


  • Extremely dangerous, can cause unpleasant side effects and in some cases can be lethal.
  • Does not appear to be adequate protection for consumers in regard to regulation and safety analysis.
  • Rebound weight gain is most likely once the tapeworm is expelled.
  • Tapeworms can cause a swollen stomach which is not physically attractive and goes against the desired result.
  • Not available in most countries.
  • Treatment is expensive and will also need to include travel expenses.

sanitized Tapeworms

History of Tapeworms for Weight Loss

In the early 1900s, a “nutrient absorption” product appeared. Call it an early version of Xenical…

“No diet, no baths, no exercise. FAT – the enemy that is shortening your life – BANISHED. How? With sanitized tapeworms – jar-packed”

No baths? What?

The product appears to be legitimate and was referenced in a 1999 diabetes journal (PDF)

Approaches to decreasing nutrient absorption date from the early 1900s, when diet treatment with “sanitized tapeworms” was widely advertised.

Weight Loss Tapeworms Today?

Unfortunately, this fad is still around and people are desperate to get their hands on these cute little parasites.

Here are a few comments made from people who are desperate to try this method. This shows just how obsessed people are to lose weight and will try anything… even to the extent of putting a deadly parasite inside their bodies.

Here’s a Few

From Nikita:

First I want to say I tried everything under the sun to lose weight, from the gym to eating less, to not eating after 8, to cutting cals, to having a trainer who yelled at me in the gym, I really want to try this. SOMEONE, please help me!
Thank you!

How about Josh:

I hate all those sanctimonious scumbags, who think that all you need is a ‘little exercise’ and we will lose weight. I’ve tried for years to lose 3 stone and it just won’t come off. Do you people think we WANT to put parasites in our bodies for pleasure??? It’s a last resort to lose weight and to become healthy. To be able to lose enough weight so we can go out and maybe feel good about ourselves, so keep your disgusted opinions to yourself and put yourself in a fat person’s shoes. I WANT TO KNOW WHERE TO BUY TAPEWORM EGGS SO I CAN LOSE WEIGHT.

And then there’s Amber who will order them from Mexico if she has to:

ANYONE have any idea on where to get these tapeworm pills. I’ve found a couple different sites that offered them but they have not replied to my emails.. “extractotape” and “weight-b-gone” and “w8bgone” are what I have come up with so far and I am still searching. “Megaslim” seems like a scam. Also, you could try googling “tapeworm pills order online weight loss” or something like that in Spanish because it is legal and offered in Mexico. I’d love to get some of these and I’m willing to pay good money. It’s just a super challenge trying to find them.

Dangers With This Approach

It goes without saying that the Tapeworm Diet is extremely risky and can cause a wide range of undesirable side effects including death. In addition to this, dieters will probably regain all the weight that is lost if they continue with the same eating habits after the tapeworm is expelled.

Dieters are advised to stick with proven weight loss methods such as consuming fewer calories and increasing physical activity, rather than risking their lives with a technique that is harmful and unlikely to yield positive long-term results by trying the tapeworm diet.

Tapeworms are flatworm parasites that have adapted to surviving in animals by feeding on the digested food of their hosts.

This means they can grow and grow until dangerous blockages occur.

They also produce larvae that burrow through the intestines and travel the blood stream until they eventually embed themselves into muscles where they form cysts. These cysts cause pain and even death if the larvae embed in the heart muscle.

This is absolutely one of the worst ways to try to lose weight and it shouldn’t be attempted.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Hoberg, E. P., Alkire, N. L., Queiroz, A. D., & Jones, A. (2001). Out of Africa: origins of the Taenia tapeworms in humans. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 268(1469), 781-787. link
  • Schultz, M. G., Hermos, J. A., & Steele, J. H. (1970). Epidemiology of beef tapeworm infection in the United States. Public health reports, 85(2), 169. link
  • Schantz, P. M., & McAuley, J. (1991). Current status of food-borne parasitic zoonoses in the United States. The Southeast Asian journal of tropical medicine and public health, 22, 65-71. link
  • Flickr | See also on Museum of Quackery

137 Comments or Reviews

Comments now closed
  1. Lee

    Surely people are missing a trick. The secret to losing weight is simple.

    Burn more calories than you take in, if you want to lose weight faster, burn more calories.

    Although i would be interested in seeing the results of a tape worm combined with exercise

  2. Joe Hayes

    Why not GMO tapeworm that does not reproduce larvae that could cause dangerous cysts ! Don’t tell me it can’t be done !

  3. Bill Nye

    Sounds like fun

  4. Tamas Feler

    Ok then

  5. James

    If the larvae get into the bloodstream ho long do you think it will take get to the brain and or heart the two most supplied organs of blood in the body

  6. James

    Only to gain it back by eating the same way risking your life isn’t worth it.
    Why should you care about the opinion of other people if you really want to change start by your habits instead

  7. John

    If the scientists can create a bio synthetic version you’ve just solved the obesity epidemic and some diabetes.

Last Reviewed: January 18, 2018