‘K-E Diet’: Feeding tubes used for extreme weight loss

April 16th, 2012 by | Permalink

Feeding tube diet trend rising. Image: ABC

A new diet craze has women rapidly shedding pounds by bypassing eating altogether and using a feeding tube instead.

The “K-E diet” is the latest extreme weight loss trend, which involves receiving a steady drip of a protein and fat mix throughout the day via a tube inserted into the nose, down through the esophagus and into the stomach. About 800 calories a day are “consumed” over the course of 10 days, reportedly leading to weight loss of up to twenty pounds.

The K-E diet is carbohydrate free, taking the popular low-carb Atkins diet to the extreme and forcing the body into a state of ketosis, which burns energy stored in fat cells.

The feeding tubes are most popular with women looking to lose weight by a specific date, such as having to squeeze into a wedding dress.

“I don’t have all the time on the planet just to focus an hour and a half a day to exercise,” Jessica Schnaider told ABC News. “I saw the diet, and I said, ‘You know what? Why not? Let me try it. So I decided to go ahead and give it a shot.”

Schnaider called spending 10 days without eating “emotionally difficult,” and said she was questioned by people asking her if she was sick. She also said the diet zapped her of energy.

“I was tired. I didn’t feel like exercising,” she said. “I’m a very energetic person, but those days [on the diet] I was a little tired.”

Dr. Oliver Di Pietro, who prescribes the diet at his office in Miami Beach, Fla., charges $1,500 for the diet, and claims that it is a “hunger-free, effective way of dieting.”

While using a feeding tube is an extreme measure to lose weight, it simply amounts to a very low calorie diet, something that is frowned upon by many nutritionists and doctors.

The American Dietetic Association states that while very low calorie diets can lead to rapid weight loss, it is crucial that it be done with careful monitoring by a physician. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association also showed while it helps with short-term weight loss, maintaining that reduced weight was difficult, and generally in the long run was no better means of dieting than more traditional weight loss methods.

“Any extreme low-calorie diet is associated with side effects, kidney stones, dehydration, headaches,” Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center told the New York Times. “And if you lose muscle mass and water, what’s the point of that?”

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