what kind of diet is this?

I watch the Today show almost every day; it's part of how we start our day around here.  It's on in the background while we change diapers and pj's, eat breakfast, and pick up Cheerios from all over the room.  Yesterday I was shocked when I heard a story come on while I was unloading the dishwasher.  I quickly came into the living room because I didn't want to miss any of the story.  It is crazy.  Period.  

A new diet that is rising in popularity with oddly enough, brides-to-be, is a tube feeding diet.  These women have a nasogastric tube [meaning it goes in through the nose, down the throat and into the stomach] inserted and are given a formula through the tube for 10 days.  The formula is made up of protein and fat mixed with water and contains no carbohydrates.  The women get 800 calories a day from the formula and carry around the tube feeding pump all the time for the 10 days.  This costs $1500 for the ten day diet, and the average weight loss is 20 pounds.  After the diet is over it is up to the women to keep the weight off. 

You see, I've worked in hospitals as a Clinical Dietitian.  I was a Dietetic Intern in four different hospitals, so I've seen plenty of patients on tube feeds.  It's generally not an elected thing.  No one, I can guarantee you, no one who has a tube feed has ever said, "yeah, I walked into the hospital hoping they'd stick a tube down my throat and pump a gross combination of liquid into my stomach.  I really didn't want to eat so that worked out perfectly."  No.  In fact, I have had patients pull their NG tubes out right in front of me.  I have had elderly patients tell me they would rather die eating than be stuck with a tube feed.  Seriously.  Tube feeds should be reserved for very sick patients.  For patients who for whatever reason, whether it be a complication from cancer, an intestinal disorder, or an intensive care patient, cannot eat food by mouth.  It is ridiculous that people are seeking out feeding tubes as a method of weight loss.  This is an inappropriate use of nutrition resources and very poor medical practice.  Tube feeding falls in the category of nutrition support, and weight loss is not under the nutrition support umbrella.

I know this is a wordy post, and I know most people probably aren't giving this a second thought.  As a Registered Dietitian I am passionately against this diet.  Thank you for giving me a place where I could share my thoughts and concerns.

*Information for this diet was found here and here.

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