Society’s obsession with weight loss has spawned yet another freakish method to lose pounds quickly—which as we all know, is not recommended and certainly not easy. If you’ve missed national morning shows’ coverage of this latest fad, here’s the lowdown on how to get food down—through your nose—and also get your weight down.
Feeding tubes are typically used to provide nutrition during an illness or for end-of-life care. But a new craze is attributed to brides-to-be who want to be model svelte on their big day down the aisle. Studies show that up to 70 percent of would-be brides want to lose 20 pounds. Isn’t it smarter to employ a healthy diet and physical activity? At least with the “regular” method, you can still eat, still taste real food.
We already know that a higher percentage of us baby boomers are obese when compared to other groups in this country. Should we consider this method? Here’s the brochure for the K-E Diet. What do you think of it? Does it make you confident?
Down the hatch
“K E” stands for ketogenic enteral nutrition delivered via a spaghetti-sized feeding tube inserted under local anesthesia. The patient also carries a feeding pump all the time. At a cost of $1,500, it’s an 800-calorie combination of liquid protein and fat, along with water, that passes into the stomach via the esophagus. Dr. Oliver Pietro of South Florida is the physician face we see promoting the K-E diet in this country, although he says the diet is a European standard, originating in Rome.
He says patients lose up to 10 percent of body weight in 10 days and that hunger disappears in just a few hours. He also says that during the diet, the body undergoes the process of ketosis, burning fat instead of muscle and causing byproducts called ketones to accumulate in the blood. The term is also closely tied to the famous Atkins Diet, which is low on carbohydrates and high on proteins—some refer to the K-E Diet as “Extreme Atkins.”
Careful with kidneys
In ketosis, the kidneys and liver work overtime to reduce ketone build-up in our urine. The process can cause fatigue and insomnia, and may cause bad breath. People with kidney or liver problems, high blood pressure or diabetes may be advised to avoid this method of weight loss. Although De Pietro says the K-E Diet is safe, other physicians warn that it could result in dehydration, cause headaches, and even kidney stones.
Finally, psychologists wonder if such a quick weight loss allows time for the mind to adjust to the sudden physiological change. Personally, I’m interested in research that evaluates the long-term success of the K-E Diet and also scientifically quantifies its safety. You?
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