The world of strange (and dangerous) fad dieting has a history of bizarre techniques with eye-catching names.

The prom dress diet. The grapefruit diet. The cabbage soup diet. The air diet. In the 1910s & 1920s, there was even something called “the tapeworm diet.”

But recently, several outlets have reported what may be one of the oddest fad diets yet. According to these sources, some soon-to-be brides are resorting to feeding tubes in order to restrict their diet (and reduce their weight) in preparation for their wedding day.

The feeding tube diet? Really?

Apparently, yes: The feeding tube diet.


The Feeding Tube Diet

According to an April 18 post by Alice Park of Time magazine’s “Healthland” blog, some brides-to-be (and others who hope to drop weight before a big event) are limiting their intake to liquid nutrition delivered via a feeding tube that is inserted in their nose. Also known as the “K-E diet” (an abbreviated version of “Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition Diet), the feeding tube technique was developed in Europe and introduced to U.S. patients by a Florida physician:

People use it drop significant amounts of weight or just to trim off a couple of extra pounds before a big event. “At first I decided not to do it for people who just want to lose a few pounds,” Dr. Oliver Di Pietro, who offers 10-day versions of the diet for $1,500 at his Bay Harbor Islands, Fla., office, told the New York Times. “But then I thought, why should I say 5 or 10 pounds are not enough? People want to be perfect.”

[According to the New York Times, Dr. Di Pietro is the sole U.S. physician with trademarks and patents on the K-E diet in the United States.]

Medically speaking, the diet works by thrusting the body into the first stages of starvation. When you cut calories that drastically, the body responds by going into a state of ketosis, in which it starts to burn stored fat rather than consuming sugar to keep normal body functions going. In fact, each night, as you sleep, your body goes into a mild state of ketosis (which may explain in part why people who don’t get enough sleep tend to be heavier).

To no one’s surprise, support for the feeding tube diet has been far from universal. (Very far.) A few of the many examples:

  • An article on the Huffington Post referred to “the lunacy and ridiculousness of this outrageous method.”
  • A doctor on Philadelphia’s Fox29 News described the feeding tube diet as “”the most ridiculous, ludicrous thing… It’s mind-boggling. I’m speechless. You should not do anything like this. It’s dangerous. It’s wrong.”
  • The director of the UCLA Risk Factor Obesity Program told Time that feeding tube dieters are taking “an unnecessary medical risk.”

Weight Loss the Healthy Way

The good news is that weight loss can be accomplished in a safe and healthy manner, with limited risk and a world of benefits. For more about healthy weight loss for children, teens, and adults, visit the websites of Wellspring Weight Loss Camps and Wellspring at Structure House.