Update: Is your cotton ball diet a result of trauma? Are you restricting your food intake in a effort to somehow take control of the trauma you have experienced or are currently experiencing? Listen to Dr.Shannon Crawford as she explains how to break free from self harm caused by trauma in your life.

Cotton Ball Diet; How it Works and How Safe it is?

A balanced diet is a food that contains different classes of food in the right proportion. When a person eats too much food, They have increased body weight and most people do not like to have increased body sizes. Some ladies do not even like it at all. This is one of the reasons some folks decide to be consuming cotton-ball diet. Although it is not nutritious, sometimes people can go to any extreme in order to achieve what they want.

Cotton balls are made from cotton. They are not meant for eating, rather they have some use in medical practice e.g. to stop bleeding from minor injury, to clean injection site after giving the injection. Apart from the medical purpose, they can be used to clean the face after application of makeup to the face. Cotton balls fused together can also be used to clean baby’s body. However, health-wise, cotton balls have no use.

The Cottonball Diet

It is a diet that is aimed at the quick loss of weight through the eating of unhealthy and unbalanced diet. It involves consumption of cotton balls that have been dipped in juices, smoothies or some other liquids. The aim is to make a person’s stomach feel full without the person having any form of weight gain. However, this diet has been condemned over and over again is dangerous to health.

How It Works

It has been a very long while that people have been eating cotton ball as diet. Many models often use it to relieve pain that occurs when a person has not eaten. An example of methods that people use to eat cotton ball diet is by putting them (i.e. cotton balls) in liquid gelatin, after which they then swallow it. With this, their stomach feels full, putting an end to their worrisome feeling of pain that results from hunger. Cotton ball diet has been modernized. In the modernized form, five balls of cotton (fluffy form) will be dipped in a liquid (which may be orange juice, lemonade, etc.). After being dipped in the liquid, it will then be swallowed.

Is It Really Safe?

People (most especially models) who are in search of a smaller waistline do eat cotton balls that have been soaked in juice in order to make their appetite subside, and with this, they cut down their daily nutrient-rich food intake. Even though cotton balls are used to bring about the quick loss of weight, it is unappetizing & even puts its consumers at risk of death.

According to some news sources, the trend of this diet emerged in the modeling industry. In modeling industries, women are usually encouraged to have thin body posture so that they can be fashionable. As a result of this, most women in modeling industry eats cotton balls that are flavored with juice. This can help them feel full without eating food.

Eating non-food item (like cotton balls) in order to lose weight is not a diet but rather a disordered eating. Furthermore, like some eating disorders (e.g. emotional disturbances of distortion of one’s image, loss of appetite and excessive eating), the cotton ball diet also comes with serious potential health risks.

Eating disorders typically stem from body dissatisfaction. Almost half of the people treated for eating disorders are also living with mood disorders such as depression, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. This means people who use approaches like the cotton ball diet may be dealing with some mental health conditions. Extreme dieting always comes with risks and it is certainly with no exception to the cotton ball diet. Here are some examples of the ways it can be harmful to the health of its consumers.

  1. Blockage of bowel and formation of calculus (stone-like structure) in the Bowel -Human’s body can’t digest cotton balls, so they’ll remain in the stomach or intestines. While in the stomach, they may mix with mucus and other food particles, creating bezoar (a small and stony mass). Bezoars will not be digested, and this can cause obstruction of the digestive tract. The following are initial signs of obstruction:

Feeling of vomiting, forceful involuntary contraction of the muscle, the passage of loose watery stool more than three times a week, inability to defecate, distension of the abdomen and pain in the abdomen. Bowel obstruction disallows food and liquids from passing through the lumen of the bowel. If it is not properly managed(surgically), it may lead to the death of healthy tissues and infection. Bezoars presence in the bowel need to be surgically removed. Intestinal obstruction requires surgery for its management.

  1. Elongated disorder of eating: It is an eating and psychological disorder which involves extreme fear of gaining weight. People with anorexia can go to potentially deadly further ways (including starvation by cotton ball diet)to lose weight and keep off from weight gain.
  2. Cotton ball has a toxic effect on the body: Cotton balls are gotten from some plants. They are passed through some processes before they become cotton balls indeed. Usually, processing of some products usually leads to the production of some toxins alongside the processed materials(or food). Processing of cotton to form cotton ball is not an exception. There is the production of dioxins. Dioxins have deleterious effects on the body. They negatively affect and therefore disrupts some normal body function e.g. the protective and defense mechanism in the blood. In some worst scenarios, they can lead to cancer. Cotton balls are not the only source of dioxins, but it has a high level of dioxins.

4.  Malnutrition: This occurs when the body could not get enough nutrient. There is a certain amount of nutrient that the body needs in order to function effectively. Consuming cotton balls makes a person not to feel hungry, as a result of this person that feed on cotton balls do not feed well. Effects of this poor feeding include pain in the joints of the body, there is more chance of such people becoming infected, pallor of the skin, etc.

In conclusion, even though we may want to work upon our outward Appearance, we need to be careful of how we go by it. Eating cotton ball to reduce weight has many bad sides with little to no good at all to offer us.


Falletta, A. (2018). An Expert’s Take on Models Eating Cotton Balls to Stay Skinny. [online] StyleCaster. Available at: http://stylecaster.com/beauty/expert-models-eating-cotton-balls-stay-skinny/ [Accessed 11 Jan. 2018].

Neporent, L. (2018). Dangerous Weight Loss Trend: The Cotton Ball Diet. [online] ABC News. Available at: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/dangerous-diet-trend-cotton-ball-diet/story?id=20942888 [Accessed 11 Jan. 2018].

Schaefer, A. (2018). The Cotton Ball Diet: 4 Ways It Could Kill You. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/eating-disorders/ways-the-cotton-ball-diet-could-kill-you [Accessed 11 Jan. 2018].