Saint Louis University

BLOG: Another Day, Another Diet

Author: Rachel Shoults
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012

When browsing the internet it doesn’t take long to come across an ad or story about how somebody discovered an amazing way to get skinny quick. While recently taking a study break from my quickly approaching Nutrition Support test I came across a new shocking diet ironically related to Nutrition Support.

The New York Times published an article on April 13th that discussed a new fad diet called the Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition diet, termed K-E diet, which originated in Europe and has slowly made its way to Florida. The diet boosts a 10 pound weight loss in only 10 days by means of a nasogastric (NG) tube, which is in place around the clock, and a protein and fat only solution being feed through the tube from a bag the individuals carry around providing 800 calories a day for a whopping $1500.

Saint Louis University Dietetic Intern Tips for Dieting
Picture from The Washington Times

Although this may be shocking to me it may not seem like a big deal to some, because after all we hear of crazy fad diets all the time. Right? So here is what this diet really does. Ketogenic diets restrict calories and carbohydrate so the body goes into a state of ketosis due to being deprived of adequate energy. The body naturally excretes ketones in urine and pulls fluid with them, which can account for a large portion of the weight loss. After the NG tube is removed, and assuming they go back to their regular diets, they will most likely gain those 10 pounds back.

Throughout the course of this internship I have been exposed to patients who have chewing and swallowing issues, have had a stroke, are in a coma, or who have an eating disorder that are using an NG tube as a life saving means of nutrition. So naturally when discovering that the NG tube was being used as crash diet for brides to be, who were described as “nervous eaters”, I was shocked and left wondering what can be done about this.

What is the Registered Dietitians (RD) opinion on this? I had to do some digging to find a comment from a RD, but I did come across a Huffington Post article that quoted former chair of a public policy committee of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as saying the diet was “illogical” and that long term “eat right and exercise” is what’s really going to make a difference.

Saint Louis University Dietetic Intern Tips for Dieting

In the field of dietetics we often get questioned about these quick fix diets and we must always be prepared to answer. So what’s the take away message? In a follow up article from The New York Times the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition responded that the article was “disturbing” and it failed “to represent the medical and lifesaving uses for feeding tubes”. Nutritional support should be reserved for those who are in serious need of it and using it in this capacity undermines the lives it saves every day.

The true key to fitting into that dress on the big day is planning ahead, incorporating an exercise regime, and of course eating a healthy well balanced diet.

For a great article on "10 tips to losing weight for life" by Australian Dietitian, Nicola Moore go to

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