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Bizarre Instagram Trend Sees Thousands Of Users Munching On Chalk
By Mikelle Leow, 11 Dec 2018
Image via Shutterstock
A new genre of ASMR content has thousands of Instagrammers chewing, and sometimes swallowing, chalk.
Uncovered by Motherboard, the activity is almost exclusively partaken by women. At time of publish, the ‘#chalkeating’ hashtag has racked up over 72,100 Instagram posts, whereas the ‘#chalkasmr’ tag has garnered more than 34,600 posts.
As you might have imagined, chalk isn’t made for eating. Although the material is not toxic, the US National Library of Medicine warns that ingesting large quantities of the material can result in digestion issues like constipation, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, as well as coughing and shortness of breath.
It’s worth noting, though, that not everybody on board with the trend has simply adopted herd mentality; there’s a medical condition that involves a person craving materials that aren’t normally considered “food”—such as glue, clay, and paper—for extended periods of time.
Called pica, it is an eating disorder that can be triggered by stress, obsessive-compulsive disorder, nutrient deficiency, or even pregnancy.
Instagram user, ‘lovepicaasmr’, who said they have pica, told Motherboard that their hankering for chalk began at the age of three, but they don’t swallow the material.
Others, like user ‘tasteetastetastik’, said that they chew chalk for stress relief, despite being aware of the health risks attached to the activity.
“It does give me some peace while I’m chewing it… I don’t always ‘eat’ [it], not all of us do. Although it is technically edible, too much of it will mess with your bowels and digestion.”
The activity isn’t healthy, but it’s important to note that not every chalk-eater has picked up the habit simply because thousands of people are doing it. If you or anyone you know has an eating disorder, resources can be found on the National Eating Disorder Association website. Confidential assistance is also available via its toll-free helpline at 1-800-931-2237.
[via Motherboard, videos via various sources, cover image via Shutterstock]
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