The Loh Down On Science

Leech Dieting

Meet your new diet guru: the bloodsucking leech.

Need to drop a few pounds fast? Take a cue from the leech. This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Many leeches fast for several months until they encounter a good food supply. Then, they feast voraciously, swelling with blood, five to nine times their normal body size.

Sounds divine! But this fattened state is risky. They can't move, and are easy targets for predators.

How do they survive? Researchers at Wellesley College took lab-reared medicinal leeches, used to stimulate circulation after reconstructive surgery, and fed them to their bursting point. After consuming up to five times their body weight in blood, the leeches were too engorged to move.

But just an hour and a half later, way faster than expected, they were swimming again – at 50 percent normal speed! How? Well, the bloated leeches peed out huge quantities of fluid. It concentrated the ingested blood into a thick cellular sludge.

And they were instantly slimmed down.

Soon to be seen as a magical new weight loss solution on Oprah! And perhaps even Dr. Phil.


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