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April 19th, 2012
02:32 PM ET

Feeding tube diet raises eyebrows

Brides often feel the pressure of looking their best on their wedding day, purchasing a dress with sometimes significantly lower wedding weight in mind. While some try to lose weight the healthy way focusing on long-term weight management, eating right and exercise, others attempt crash diets sometimes going to extreme measures to shed those extra pounds.

One such bride, Jessica Schnaider told ABC and The New York Times that she wanted to lose 10 pounds before her big day.  She went to Dr. Oliver Di Pietro in Miami Beach, Florida.  In a release to CNN, Di Pietro says he's brought the K-E diet to the United States from Italy.  The diet involves inserting a feeding tube into a patient's nose that runs to the stomach for a period of 10 days.

Patients do not eat any food, receiving their 800-calorie-a-day food supplements through a portable pump that they carry around.  Di Pietro says in his statement that he began to offer this "diet" to some of his obese patients. According to his statement, the "goal was to help them 'jump start' a longer weight loss program, and all who participated enjoyed a safe and significant weight loss of between 10-25 pounds depending on sex, initial weight and whether or not they chose to stay on the plan the entire 10 days." Schnaider told ABC she only did the diet for 8 days, stopping only once she reached her goal of losing 10 pounds.

Di Pietro says patients are monitored with urine and blood tests during the 10-day cycle.  He says before beginning the diet, patients are screened in order to participate.

Di Pietro says in the release that he "modified the plan for the U.S. by adding medium chain triglycerides and requiring stricter monitoring by a doctor."

His statement also says the that "the science is based on providing your body with only proteins and fats without carbohydrates or sugars, which force your body into what is called ketosis; this means your body burns up your stores of fat but not muscle because the program is only 10 days long.  Because it is delivered to the body in a unique way through the K-E Tube, it works effectively and quickly."

Art Caplan, a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, describes this diet as "stupid" and "outrageous."  He tells CNN that this is not the way feeding tubes were intended to be used. According to Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Morgan Liscensky, "the FDA does not have any feeding tubes that are approved for weight loss.”

Emory Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Edward Lin says there are risks associated with having a nasogastric tube or feeding tube.  He lists insertion trauma, septum damage, perforated throat, lung damage, and GI bleeding, as potential short-term risks. When it comes to leaving a tube down your esophagus for 10 days, he says, "you can cause esophagus stricture which is tight narrowing from scarring," as well as put yourself at risk for pneumonia.

Lin says losing weight too fast can be dangerous and suggests eating right and exercising for the healthiest results. Patients who lose weight rapidly are more prone to getting gall stones, electrolyte abnormalities, such as low potassium resulting in muscle fatigue. "There are plenty of commercially available diets that serve as meal replacement diets through the mouth," he says.  "You really don't need a foreign device to do that." For most people who do this type diet, they'll end up gaining more weight in the end.


soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. checkyofacts

    The body already has a feeding tube. It's called the esophagus. Put 800 calories a day into it, and you'll lose weight.

    April 20, 2012 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • elizabeth

      Well said.

      April 20, 2012 at 10:16 | Report abuse |
  2. Terry

    Well said, but even then, 800 a day is way to few calories for a young women.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Seth

    This is rediculous... all for the laziness of the user. If you burn more calories than you eat, you will lose weight. It's not rocket surgery.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Halley

    My mother has a feeding tube and it's not as pleasing as glamorous when you have to have it and go to nurses and pay outrageous hospital bills.

    April 20, 2012 at 19:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carrie

      My grandmother had one too they are not pleasant and even though she couldn't speak i could tell from the expression on her face she didn't like it. Her food was ground to the consistency of baby food. It was AWFUL! I felt so bad for her but she got all of her nourishment and meds that way. She lost so much weight it had to be taken out but she couldn't swallow it wasn't by choice. Eventually her throat healed and she was able to eat again like regular food thank goodness. That PEG tube or w/e it's called was horrible i wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy! Hope your loved one was/is ok and healed. My grandmother has since passed but she spent many years like this.

      April 23, 2012 at 04:03 | Report abuse |
  5. Carrie

    what's worse doing this or that Body by Vi "diet"that has the nation hooked? we get upset about getting their food in a tube but BBV has all these celebrities pushing it and nobody seems to be upset about a thing! Its the exact same principle!!! Of COURSE you will lose weight! ITS A SHAKE AND VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS if that is all you eat then duh you will lose weight! if all you do is drink water and take vitamins you will lose weight too! give ME your $$$ and i'll give you a shake and vitamins a whole lot cheaper! SMH @ stupidity in America. We are willing to do ANYTHING to lose weight. Why don't you try exercising instead? give yourself enough adequate time, eat the right foods (veggies, fruits, protein, etc) DO NOT DIET THEY DO NOT WORK and you will lose weight the correct way. It just takes time and there is no "miracle" pill or shake they are lying to you! Good luck and hope you have a beautiful wedding day!

    April 23, 2012 at 03:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ayeizz

      As long as you have some muscle mass, eaintg healthily will allow your body to naturally (yet more slowly) burn off excess fat. However, what do you think it is easier to sell people? Pricey healthy food that they can just replace with items from the store, or get ripped quick exercise machines for $ 20 a pop? Also (and this is just my opinion) telling people they can still eat most of what they want and they just have to exercise is more appealing than telling them that they have to be very strict about what they eat.

      September 11, 2012 at 05:58 | Report abuse |
  6. Desi

    It would be easier, tastier and cheaper to buy 8000 calories of protein and fat. Steak, eggs, bacon chicken and olive oil. and that's it. Divide it amongst 10 days. One chicken breast is like 120cals add some garlic and olive oil for flavor and your set. You could have 4 200 calorie meals its fine. Take a multivitamin. Reintroduce healthy non white carbs after 10 days. Eat less than 32g of sugar a day for life. Thats what doctors reccomend anyways.

    You wouldn't actually get that hungry after the first day because you go into ketosis without carbs and no longer feel hungry. No joke you could lose 10+ lbs in 10 days. Eating bacon and not feeling hungry no less. :)

    April 23, 2012 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Another Time Another Place

      If it were as easy as that, we wouldn't have medi-fast. gastric by-pass, and lap bands being "prescribed" by doctors. This procedure seems a whole lot less intrusive than what Dr. Lin, who is mentioned in the article as calling this procedure as "stupid", does in his bariatric surgery practice! What a hypocrite to suggest this procedure is any more dangerous than by-pass surgery or lap band surgery. Wow. To all of you who criticize this.

      August 19, 2012 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
  7. james

    Great she did the most stuid thing in her life.

    May 28, 2012 at 09:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Darko

    As far as diet programs go, 17 Day Diet Recipes is safe and it is a healthy option. This site is slightly more professional looking and gives you an even more comprehensive list of complex carbohydrate foods for weight loss. Crash dieting is known to cause Telogen effluvium, as can emotional or physical stress. You can find the nutrition information on the labels of any products you purchase at the grocery store. I believe that the best approach is to combine things into a new life style that would result in both a lower calorie consumption and abortion and higher calorie burning.

    May 28, 2012 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
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