A medical journalist says he put on 9.5kg after ingesting tapeworms, dispelling a belief the parasites cause weight loss.

"The parasites were for many years thought to be a weight-loss aid to past generations, with Victorian women swallowing their eggs to get thinner," Press Association reported.

TV presenter Michael Mosley, who had the tapeworms in his gut for six weeks, attributes the weight gain to his need to increase his food intake.

"I was keeping a food diary to see if my food preferences changed," he said.

"I think I probably ate a bit more chocolate.

Michael Mosley was surprised to hear he had put on weight after ingesting tape worms as an experiement. Photo: YouTube

"Tapeworms like beer and chocolate - they like carbohydrates.

"My weight, if anything, went up a bit.

"One of the theories is that the tapeworm probably encourages you to eat more. You feed it."

The trained doctor's experience as a human guinea pig was recorded for his documentary Michael Mosley: Infested!

"Mosley tracked down the tapeworm at an abattoir in Nairobi in Kenya and te cysts from the tongue of an infected cow, cutting away the meat surrounding them to avoid any infection," PA reported.

"In order to be sure of a good hit rate for the worms he ate three cysts, all of which developed into worms.

"Six weeks after swallowing the cysts, the activities of the worms were monitored in his guts by a camera he swallowed, allowing him to see what was going on by looking at his iPad."

Mosley said that in the past, Victorian ladies swallowed tapeworm eggs in the hope that it would help them lose weight.

Following the experiment Mosley digested a pill designed to kill tapeworms, although doctors say there is a possibility they are still inside him. Photo: YouTube

"But this was actually a fallacy because the eggs are not infectious to human beings - they are only really infectious to cattle," he said.

Producer Nathan Williams said BBC policies allowed Mosley to consume the tapeworm because it could not be passed between humans.

The parasites in Mosley's body were killed with medication, but there had been no evidence the worms had been expelled from his body.

"Nothing came out," he said.

"There are two possibilities: the most likely possibility is that the pills killed the worms and my body digested the tapeworms, which is an ironic end - parasite gets eaten by its host, which is most likely.

"The second possibility is they are still there, but since it is about 13 weeks since I swallowed the cysts, I think I would have noticed by now."


The West Australian

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