There are always new diet trends on the loose, and sometimes they border into the extreme and life threatening variety. It’s hard to imagine how some of them even begin and catch on, but the quest to be thin is so strong in some people that apparently they do. A recent interview with Eddie Murphy revealed his daughter’s struggles with the modeling industry’s strict standards of beauty. She described how models would dip cotton balls in orange juice and eat them in an effort to feel full and reduce the amount of food that they will eat.
The people who engage in this dangerous behavior generally eat up to five cotton balls in a sitting after dipping them in some kind of liquid to help them go down. There are multiple reasons that this is an incredibly dangerous diet choice.
For starters, cotton balls are not food and putting anything into your digestive system that is not food or medicine has no place being there. For another thing, eating cotton balls is an extremely high choking hazard since they cannot be chewed down to reasonable food sized bites. The cotton balls can get stuck in a variety of locations in the body, which can lead to obstructions that can require drastic removal measures or even surgery. When obstructions occur in the digestive system the person even risks death from the diet trend.
Cotton balls are also not usually made of pure cotton at all, but can have all sorts of chemicals on them from their production process. Often they are made out of polyester and then bleached, which makes eating them sort of like eating your clothes. The reference helps to drill in how odd the trend is.
If someone is relying on the cotton balls to keep him or herself full, then they are undoubtedly missing out on key ingredients they should be getting through their diet to keep their bodies in good working order. Denying the body of food can cause malnutrition, a weakening of the immune system, a reduction of energy, and can obviously exacerbate any mental or emotional disturbances that have lead to the behavior in the first place.
Since cotton balls of any kind are not a food, the trend of eating them to remain thin is considered an eating disorder and should not be taken lightly or overlooked. Specialists of eating disorders are finding that girls begin to have thoughts regarding their body types as young as five and six, and that they have the awareness of when they would like to be thinner. Some of this might be media, or some of it might come from their parents. Wherever it comes from, it should not be assumed that a child’s youth makes them immune to the possibilities of developing disordered eating and dangerous thoughts.