A TV presenter with the BBC swallowed tapeworms to check out whether the Victorian method of weight loss really worked.
Dr Michael Mosley swallowed three beef tapeworm, Taenia saginata, cysts obtained from infected cattle in Kenya. Dr Mosley hoped to find out whether swallowing parasites led to weight loss.
Victorian women reportedly swallowed the parasites thinking that they helped reduce weight. Several weeks after swallowing the parasites, Dr Mosley also swallowed a pill camera that travelled into his gut and broadcasted live pictures on to his iPad.
He discovered the worms, which can grow as long as 10m long in the intestines, and though there were no obvious ill effects, Dr Mosley revealed that rather than reducing his weight, they increased his appetite and he gained 1kg. "It could be that the parasite increased my appetite. I ate a lot of chocolate. So anyone who is thinking of popping parasites as a weight-loss device should think twice", he said.