The 5 second answer people come up with is, "well they consume calories you otherwise would have". This logic works great if we're discussing the impact of my brother consuming part of my meal but it does not however in this case. The speaker seems to have forgotten that the tapeworm resides inside of you. Any calories which aren't incorporated into your tissues are instead incorporated into the tapeworms tissues. Since the tapeworm is inside of you, your weight measured externally (i.e. including the tapeworms weight) still increases.

Analogizing again to my brother: there would be no difference in my final weight gain if a) I ate dinner and then my brother or b) my brother ate my dinner and then I ate my brother : ).

So, what is the explanation for why tapeworms lead to weight decrease?

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    $\begingroup$ Your question presupposes that they do help with weight loss (as opposed to being a folk-tail or quackery with no evidentiary backing). They are know, among other things, to increase appetite and weight-gain in many sufferers. Can you link to any study which supports your underlying assumption? $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 20:48

1 Answer 1


Tapeworms are parasites that live in the gut and absorb food. They lead to weight decrease because they reduce the amount of food that can be absorbed by the body. Tapeworms also cause malabsorption, which is when nutrients from food are not properly absorbed by the body. This can lead to deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals, which can also cause weight loss.


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