Just when you think you've heard about every crazy diet ever invented, along comes a new one. Desperate women are losing weight with the "feeding tube diet."
As the name suggests, the person losing the weight uses a feeding tube to get all their nourishment, not one single bite of food or one drop to drink.
Up until now, feeding tubes were primarily used for patients suffering from head and neck cancers and couldn't swallow. They are uncomfortable. But now women are paying good money and actually choosing this extreme method of feeding in order to lose weight quickly.
The diet, under a doctor's supervision, involves inserting the feeding tube into the patient's nose and leaving it there for about a week and a half. Meanwhile, the doctor prepares a food solution and puts it into a feeding pump that slowly drips into the patient over time.
It's a time-released system. The patient must not only have the feeding tube in her nose all the time, but she must also tote around the feeding pump everywhere she goes. It's quite an eye full. Although she is not allowed to eat any "real" food at all, there is nothing preventing her from doing so, which is to say, she doesn't have her jaw wired shut or any such thing.
The patient usually only ingests about 800 calories a day, which is profoundly low. Not only that, but there are no carbohydrates at all in the mixture that is fed through the tube. So what happens is the body goes into ketosis - that means it burns body fat for energy. Most people lose two pounds a day on the feeding tube diet. It costs about $1,500 for a 10-day treatment.
But is this safe? It's certainly not recommended. The Miami doctor who introduced this diet to the United States brought it over from Italy. His intent was to help the morbidly obese. However, most women who are trying this diet are brides-to-be who are trying to fit into their wedding dress.
Any thinking person would tell you that this method of weight loss is not ideal. Instead of losing two pounds a day, doctors say losing two pounds a week is much better. Lifestyle changes that you can live with long term are what really work.
Changes like exercising 30 minutes a day and limiting calorie intake to 2,000 a day. Minimizing sugar intake, particularly sodas and other foods containing high fructose corn syrup is a good lifestyle choice that will pay off long-term. The American Heart Association recommends women consume only six teaspoons of sugar a day and men only nine. Most Americans consume 22!
Trans fat reduction will also produce results. Avoid processed foods whenever possible and remember that trans fats are labeled as "hydrogenated" oils in a product's list of ingredients.
A "crash" diet, also known as a "fad" diet, is never a good idea. The feeding tube diet is another one that should simply be ignored.