A tapeworm is like something out of a horror movie. It's a wiggly, creepy looking ribbon-shaped creature that lives inside you, absorbing your nutrients and laying millions of eggs. They can reach 20 feet (6.1 meters) or more in length and live for years. And if the idea of having a worm living inside of you doesn't have you shuddering in revulsion, just wait until you hear how they reproduce.
Despite the extreme "gross" factor of tapeworms, some people have suggested that acquiring one intentionally would be a relatively simple way to lose weight. In fact, tapeworm pills may have been sold as weight-loss aids in the past. In some ways, it seems to make a certain amount of sense -- that is, if you can get past the gross-out factor. If a tapeworm is absorbing your body's nutrients and calories, you can eat all you want and enjoy the taste. Then the worm diverts it all before it hits your waistline, right?
We'll find out. Actually, there are lots of rumors and myths surrounding tapeworms, so we're going to untangle this bizarre mystery. How do you get a tapeworm, anyway? Once you have one, how does it come out? Did a legendary opera singer lose her girth (and some say, her voice) by intentionally ingesting a tapeworm? Also, how much weight could a tapeworm really help you lose?