Many crazy diets appear in the headlines. Some recent offerings include the feeding tube diet and the tapeworm diet. The latest diet to make headlines is the cotton ball diet, and the science behind it resembles the structure of cotton—unsupportive fluff.
The diet involves consuming five cotton balls dipped in orange juice, lemonade, or a smoothie. The claim is that you will feel full without gaining weight. Some dieters consume these before their meal to limit calorie intake, while others rely exclusively on the cotton balls as their “food” intake.
Medical experts agree that nothing good can come of this diet, and in fact it is very dangerous for the following reasons:
- Cotton balls may not be cotton—most are bleached polyester fibers that contain lots of chemicals
- Eating synthetic cotton balls is similar to eating cloth, or even buttons or coins
- Risks include choking, malnutrition, or even worse, a blockage in the intestinal tract, which can be life-threatening
A healthier and safer approach to feel full is to make sure you get plenty of fiber in your diet. Follow these tips to get the recommended 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day:
- Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (beans and peas), which are all good sources of fiber
- Look at the Nutrition Facts Panel for a product’s fiber content—20 percent or more is considered high
- Include fiber-rich foods with meals and snacks
For more information on how to safely achieve and maintain a healthy weight, visit MyPlate.
Want to know more about choosing high fiber foods? Check out these resources:
- Whole Grains publication - provides information on how to choose whole grain foods
- Dried Beans, Peas, and Lentils - tells how to use dried beans