Feeding Tube Diet for Extreme Weight Loss - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Feeding Tube Diet for Extreme Weight Loss

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Nose feeding tubes are typically used on patients who are suffering from head or neck cancer and cannot swallow, they are those patients' nutritional lifelines. Now, some women are turning to those feeding tubes to lose a lot of weight, quickly.

Before you get too worked up, Dr. Oliver Di Pietro says, "It sounds worse than it really is. Most people lose about 2 pounds per day for the whole 10 days."

Dr. Oliver Di Pietro says the K-E diet is like an extreme form of the Atkins diet.

"The way this works: you're fed continuously through a feeding tube so it's a small spaghetti sized tube that gets inserted through the nose under local anesthesia."

It's slightly uncomfortable. And the patient has to carry a feeding pump 24-7.  Mixed with water, that's the nourishment the patient receives, an infusion of proteins and fats, and no carbohydrates. The patient's intake is only 800 calories a day, but the infusion is constant and there are zero carbohydrates, which curbs hunger.

"The body rapidly goes into profound ketosis and when you're in ketosis the body starts to burn fat not muscle which is why you lose so much weight so quickly," Di Pietro explains.

He says it started in Rome, where physicians there began using feeding tubes 10 years ago on their patients as a way to lose weight. Then last July, he decided to bring the diet to the United States to help the morbidly obese. But then he saw a shift in demand, including from brides to be.

"Slowly the need and the demand shifted toward mainly women that needed to lose much less weight and the situation with the occasional bride coming in and saying, "I need to fit into my wedding dress because I'm a nervous eater, and I've been gaining weight."

Not everyone thinks it's a good idea. Dietitian Keri Glassman tells us what she thinks.

"Getting 800 calories would be too low for anyone, but getting them from lean protein, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, is very different than getting them through a feed tube"

And it is not cheap, the K-E diet costs $1,500 for ten days. Doctor Di Pietro says it's safe, but that it's up to the patient to keep the weight off after they lose it.

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