Just when you thought that feeding tubes were only for the terminally ill, think again. A new diet is making waves in the United States. Called the K-E diet (for ketogenic enteral nutrition) the KE diet involves sliding a feeding tube into a patient's nose, down her throat and into her stomach. After that, a bag of fat, protein and water is attached to said tube and for the next ten days, the patient eats absolutely nothing by mouth. Instead, the fat soup in a bag mixture is slowly dripped into her stomach (by tube).
The appeal of the K-E diet lies in the claim that it can help a patient lose twenty pounds in ten days.
Probably. But of course most of the lost weight is water shed by depleting the liver of glycogen and by abstaining from salt. In other words, the weight lost on the K-E diet isn't fat. Not most of it. Just water that will return as soon as a patient consumes carbohydrate again.
Ketosis, cue removal, placebo effect, fluid loss and a very low calorie intake. Ketosis is the condition of having "Ketone Bodies" in the blood. It is commonly seen in low calorie and low-carbohydrate diets and it reduces hunger. Cue removal means not having any of the normal signals associated with eating: chewing, swallowing, tasting, using utensils or even sitting down to eat. Instead a bag of mush slowly discharges into the stomach all day and all night. Invasive medical procedures have an aura of "power" to them and tend to cause a strong placebo (power of the mind) effect. Ketosis causes rapid burning of the liver's storage form of carbohydrate (called glycogen) and when this is depleted, one loses between four and ten pounds of fluid (water). Also, the feed-bag contains low-sodium mush which further helps with water loss. Finally, the feeding tube diet is also a very low calorie diet. Undoubtedly some of the weight loss is fat.
Assuming the feeding tube is properly placed (and is not inserted into the trachea), the diet itself probably carries very little risk. But of course it only lasts ten days.
About $1500 for ten days