Don't eat cotton balls, don't eat cotton balls, don't eat cotton balls. That's the major takeaway from a teen "trend story" about girls who are — wait for it — eating cotton balls as a sort of dieting hack lifted from the pages of The Cenobite Guide to an Especially Painful Bikini Season.
So. According to Seattle's local NBC affiliate King 5, teenage girls are all like, "Hey girl hey — instead of, like, eating food, just soak a cotton ball in juice and swallow it." The logic here is that the cotton ball's penchant for absorbing things helps give the stomach a full feeling so it doesn't realize that it's being tricked into not eating real food.
Cotton ball dieting isn't new, but its appearance among young girls has precipitated a fair amount of parental fretting, and ledes like this certainly don't help anyone gain perspective:
It started with supermodels. Now, younger girls are doing it.
It's the cotton ball diet, a bizarre and dangerous new diet trend that parents need to know about.
Swallowing juice-soaked cotton balls is obviously not good because it can lead to choking and malnutrition, to say nothing of the fact that cotton balls are often made out of bleached polyester fibers, not cotton (which is non-digestible anyway). But is cotton ball juicing a real thing that girls are doing, or just sensational fodder for the evening news scare segment?
A doctor quoted for the cotton ball segment doesn't mention any specific instance of girls swallowing cotton balls to stay thin, so all we're left with is a vague warning underscoring the horrific pressure on young girls to conform to a fashion industry body standard.
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'Cotton ball diet' poses major health risks [King 5]
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