Inquest confirms death by soup and water diet

This week, BBC news covered the case of a 26-year-old woman who died after following a strict diet of soup and water.

The woman, 26, weighed 9st 2lb at the time of her death. She had lost six stone after dieting to lose weight she put on as a side effect of medication. The result of this extreme diet was a drastic lack of sugar leading to a metabolic chemical reaction called ketoacidosis – where the body attempts to recover the sugar loss by metabolising its own fat reserves.

Coroner Terence Carney recorded a verdict of accidental death and said he was certain she had no intention to cause herself harm.

The BBC report states: Mr Carney said: This phenomenon – this poison if you like – which developed within her body was made by her body itself.

“It arises as a result of the body reacting to a lack of sugar within itself and that was in part a consequence of the intensive diet with which Helen was attempting to balance her weight.

“The sad truth of the matter is there has been a development within her body, a natural phenomena, which has set up this poisoning of her body’s system and has led to her death.

“It is a problem which can develop very rapidly and without the individual appreciating the consequences.”

This article reminded me of the Chalasani and Fischer case report published in Journal of Medical Case Reports last year, “South Beach Diet associated ketoacidosis: a case report. A true and clinically relevent reflection of the dangers of restricting food intake? Or an unfortunate case for us all to learn from?


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