The Tube Feeding Diet

How far would you go to lose weight? Would it change your decision if you only 20 pounds to lose compared to 200? What about the cost? the side effects? the risk involved?

An article recently came out about the newest trend for quick weight loss for brides before their wedding. The article features a women who wanted to lose 35 lbs. (from 159 to 125) to be able to fit into her wedding dress. The treatment? 10 days at 800 calories… no “food” involved. The process included getting a feeding tube inserted into the nose (with a bag attached on the end outside the body). She could go about daily living with the tube in her nose and carry the feeding bag around with her. The cost? $1500 for a 10 day treatment. She had to quit after 8 days because she was losing weight too quickly.

This may be the most extreme weight loss measure I have seen in a long time. Nasogastric (as well as other types of feeding tubes) are typically used in an intensive care setting. Dietitians are involved in making recommendations for these patients along with the doctor for what type, how much, and when the tube feed diets occur. This treatment is reserved for people who are otherwise unable to eat. They may be unconscious, unable to breathe on their own, or unable to swallow. My last time working with a patient in this state was in my internship in the ICU at Grant Hospital. May I pose this challenge? Before considering this “diet” for diet’s sake, find a person on a tube feed. Ask them (if they are able to speak) if they had a chance to lose weight by the tube feeding method, would they do it. I think you know the answer.

It’s extremely sad that a person would feel so self conscious or imperfect that they would resort to a tube for their food for a mere 35 pounds. I know that weight loss is not easy. I counsel for weight loss regularly. But the sense of pride and accomplishment that clients have coming back to me 10 lbs. lighter than before far outweighs the temporary benefits of the vanity weight loss described in the article.

We haven’t yet described the risks. Constipation, bad breath (due to ketosis), dizziness, dehydration, kidney stones, muscle wasting, and headaches.

Would it be worth it to you? My philosophy has always been that all foods fit. I honestly believe that people should be able to enjoy all that life offers including tasty food. My job is to help people find balance. We figure out how to enjoy the foods we love while losing weight at the same time. That is what will make you confident on your wedding day, knowing that you accomplished your goal the healthy way.

*****

New York Times Article Here

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4 Comments

  1. Wow! I have to question the ethics of the doctor who inserted that NG tube when it was not medically necessary. Do you have the link to that article? I would like to read it.

    Reply
  2. kerri

     /  May 11, 2012

    I have been tubefed for eight years first via g now via j tube. I. Wish they knew what it is really like to be tubefed for a medical reason and that they wouldnt take it so lightly. I saw a video report about this. It is a terrible idea. Feedingtubes should only be used for people who cant get their. Nutrition orally. That lady and others like her also run the risk of having swallowing issues. I cant believe they would give up food voluntarily even for such a short time. Taking for granted what they have and not being happy with themselves the way they are. Sad.

    Kerri

    Tubefed since 2004

    Reply
    • Thank you so much for sharing this, Kerri. I completely agree! You are an inspiration. Thankful that medical advances have been made for people like you and sad that people who don’t need them, abuse them…

      Reply

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