Page last updated at 16:54 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 17:54 UK

Death after soup and water diet

A woman died after living on a diet of soup and water, an inquest has heard.

Helen Anderson, 26, weighed 9st 2lb when she was found dead by her mother at her home in Shelley Avenue, Cleadon Park, South Shields, in April.

She had lost almost six stone after dieting to lose weight she put on as a side effect of medication.

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

The inquest in South Shields heard Miss Anderson's body was so starved of sugar it began to eat into its own fat reserves.

It caused a metabolic chemical reaction called ketoacidosis, which eventually killed her.

'Intensive diet'

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."

Miss Anderson, who was 5ft 9ins, had been 15st but weighed 9st 2lb when she died and was at the lower end of the Body Mass Index scale.

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