UK & World News
Controversial Feeding Tube Diet Reaches UK
Dieticians have warned of the dangers of losing weight with a "starvation diet" available in Britain for the first time.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) says there are "huge risks" to the diet, in which people are given just 130 calories a day through a feeding tube that goes up their nose and down to their stomach.
The 10-day regime forces the body to burn up so much fat that people lose up to 10% of their weight.
But Sasha Watkins, dietician and spokesperson for the BDA, said naso-gastric feeding tubes should only be used in hospital under medical supervision.
"They could become dislodged while people are at home and food may go down into the lungs," she warned.
She added the severe calorie restriction and pure protein formula feed could damage the kidneys.
The fears have been robustly dismissed by the doctor promoting the Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition (KEN) diet.
Dr Ray Shidrawi is a widely respected consultant gastroenterologist at Homerton Hospital in east London and runs a private weight-loss clinic.
He told Sky News that soon-to-be published trials on more than 19,000 patients in Italy show that the diet is safe.
"KEN is a properly studied technique. We know it does not harm you in any way," he said.
"This diet leads to sustained and selective weight loss. It burns fat, not muscle."
He has treated 85 patients with the diet. Between them they have lost more than 850kg, or 134st. And some have been able to reduce, or even stop, their medication for diabetes and high blood pressure.
Dr Shidrawi threads a narrow tube through a KEN patient's nose, down their throat to their stomach. A pump drip feeds a protein liquid through the tube day and night. The regular feeding fools the stomach into feeling full.
In America the extreme diet is being used by brides hoping to fit into a smaller dress and look slimmer in their wedding photos.
But Dr Shidrawi said the diet was "not about treating thin women to be even thinner".
He was approached by a woman with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 19, but refused to treat her.
One of his patients, who would only give her name as Maria, used to weigh 94kg, nearly 15st. She lost 12kg (2st) in her first treatment. She has now started a second.
"I have lost 7in from stomach area and 5in from my hips. To lose 5st in weight will take three months, which is remarkable," she said.
"Commercial diets are too slow - just a pound a week - and most people lose interest.An extreme diet like this is the next step.
"This is far better than surgery or drugs to speed up metabolism."
But Ms Watkins said: "What is this saying about our relationship with food?
"Tube feeding for weight loss is hugely extreme. There is no magic wand to weight-loss."
what do you think?
i am someone who has struggled with my weight for years!! this sounds too good to be true!!!! which probably means it is... the truth of the matter is eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise!!!. it really is not rocket science!!
I had almost 10 days fasting pre and post-op for stomach surgery and then I got awful left hand spasms from calcium deficiency so I hope the drip feed has calcium in it. I had scarlatina and fell down temporarily paralysed from lack of B vitamis to keep my nerves from shortcircuiting so hope the drip feed included marmite. my brother almost died from paralysis following stomach bug picked up in majorca when his neervous system shut down from lack of B vitamins. the diet should be ok so long as there are enough vitamins and minerals in it. on the negative side both my brother and I very quickly put back the weight we lost.
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Thats the only problem with quick weight loss once you have lossed the weight you have to maintain a strict caloric diet which most don't on a plus side atleast you and your brother are all ok
Sorry i meant to say one of the problems
Another killer fad to assist population control no doubt. Who thinks of these things and to popularise them? People without a conscience. The problem with everything is having no patience. If people are really unhappy with their weight or shape then make a plan and do it. However, they need to be prepared to be patient and persistant, to see results. This awful quick fix can surely do permanent damage to the body. @Fleur Black sorry for your trouble but it sounds like you're advocating this treatment. It's not only vitamins you need but a proper food intake with solid foods. When we chew our food, the stomach is signalled to prepare digestive juices. This is not natural at all and like the article said about the dangers with dislodged tubes and so on.
Best way to diet is just not to eat so much.... I am overweight ( not massivly but I am) and know it but I don't blame anyone or anything else apart from my own piggery. there is no excuse these days....all the packaging and common sense tells you how much fat is in things.... go jogging, cycle, swim brisk walk...Don't sit in front of the telly all night with a big bag of crisps....The fridge does not come in and force food down you....get a grip.... I gave up smoking I am sure I can give up eating so much when the time comes and I have had enough of looking like I do