The Cotton Ball Diet: A New Low for Diet Fads

    Well, yet another fad diet has come out of the woodworks of the modeling industry. That’s right folks, it’s the Cotton Ball Diet, and it’s right up there with the Air Diet on the crazy scale.

    The Cotton Ball Diet caught on after Eddie Murphy’s daughter and budding model, Bria Murphy, spoke about the pressures of being a model on Good Morning America. “I’ve heard of people eating the cotton balls with the orange juice […] they dip it in the orange juice and then they eat the cotton balls to help them feel full.”

    PA– USE. The Cotton Ball Diet is NOT a diet at all. It’s an eating disorder, and the faster the girls participating in this realize it, the better. Models are meant to show you how to dress next season, not how to eat!

    Dr. Mallory Moss, doctorate prepared psychiatric nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist was appalled when learning of this unfortunate trend. “I think that it is pathetic that anyone has to feel that they cannot eat food. It is tantamount to eating paper. Cotton is not meant to be ingested. Look at the psychiatric disorder pica. It is self harm and an illness to do it, even if everyone is doing it.”

    Many other medical professionals referenced pica, a pattern of eating non-food materials such as dirt or paper (National Library of Medicine), when talking about the Cotton Ball Diet. However, pica is usually characterized as a craving for the non-food object. I don’t think these girls are actually craving the cotton balls, but craving the bodies they see on the runway, where the whole thing stemmed from.

    Not only is cotton not digestible, but can also cause an obstructive effect in the lower intestine, according to Dr. Fred Campbell who spoke to King 5 about the diet. Since many cotton balls aren’t even made out of cotton, but bleached fibers containing harmful chemicals, eating them can be lethal.

    This just goes back to what I always stress when people ask me what my “secret” was when recently losing 30 pounds. There is no secret. It’s plain and simple: eat clean and exercise regularly. Shortcuts don’t work, and they’re not healthy. In fact, many get-slim-quick schemes are counter productive. “When we trick our body into thinking it is eating, it craves more calories,” Moss explains.

    There are healthy ways to feel full while getting plenty of nutrients, and not acting downright crazy. In fact, when I was losing weight, I was eating more than I ever did before. Not to mention there are many healthy foods that burn more calories than they contain to digest them: celery, apples, and zucchini to name a few (Source). Should you JUST be eating those foods? NO! But if you want quick snacks throughout the day to help satiate hunger, then yes, grab a handful of celery and chomp away.

    This is yet another example of the negative effects that industries impose on young people by glorifying one body type as the only “beautiful” option. Even after my weight loss, there are times when I think, “It’s not enough… must keep losing.” I’ve received a lot of flack about my weight since I was a kid- even from adults when trying to break into the entertainment industry.


    When will our weight-obsessed society realize that we’re doing more harm than good by praising these women on stage who are slowly killing themselves? Cotton balls are for removing nail polish, ladies, not eating.

    Beauty isn’t a body type.



    1. I’ve heard about models eating toilet paper in the past, and it’s so sad. Really. I wish these fat shaming individuals (like that mom of 3 who keeps the fat shaming train going on her facebook rants) would simmer down because it’s not about shaming, it’s not about disordered eating behavior, it’s about doing what’s right for you and feeling good and being healthy.End rant!

    2. This fad diet is crazy sh*t, forgive my mouth. I hate it when people resort to extreme measures to achieve that model-esque perfection. These women… arghh!!!!

    3. Thank you for sharing this! You are correct, our society needs to reevaluate what we think that a real woman should look like. Not anorexic or photoshopped pictures of a flawless body or skin. Only then can we start teaching our children and women what and how to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle for their own body type.

    4. It’s really saddening to see these types of trends catch on. I’m naturally thin and it’s not as good as the media makes it seem. Clothes don’t fit well, limbs are disproportional, jewelry that fits is hard to come by, snide remarks by others, etc. I think we should all just be accepting to all the shapes and sizes people come in, instead of trying to fit into the media’s perception of beauty.

        • There should be more effort put into being happy with who we are. Despite how I was born with all the flaws, I’m pretty happy with myself. And as long as I am healthy, I shouldn’t worry about trying to fit into the overrated perception of beauty. The only thing that can be truly ugly is what’s inside, not out.


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