The Doctors are joined by internal medicine specialist Dr. Oliver Di Pietro, founder of the K-E Diet — also known as the “Feeding Tube Diet” — a controversial weight loss plan that involves inserting a plastic or rubber tube through the nose and down the esophagus into the stomach. The diet consists of an 800-calorie solution of vitamins, minerals, protein and oils delivered through the tube each day for 10 days.
Dr. Pietro is the only doctor in the United States to offer this procedure, partly because other health care providers are against the practice. He argues that the procedure is intended to be a jump-start to a healthier lifestyle and sees it as a valuable option in the fight against obesity.
Dr. Pietro explains that he limits the procedure to only patients who are classified as obese on the BMI scale. Patients are given a 10-day supply of a powdered food supplement, which they mix with water and attach to the feeding tube every day. The bag containing the solution can be carried in a backpack or a purse. He says the plan is a great alternative for patients considering bariatric surgery, who need to lose weight rapidly.
“You’re essentially doing a controlled starvation,” plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon says. “What you’re saying is, it’s OK to starve really fat people.”
The Doctors argue that while this procedure may be effective in the short term, it is very extreme, and at $1,600 per treatment, a very costly option. Furthermore, ER physician Dr. Travis Stork notes that any weight lost during the 10-day period most likely would be regained once the patient returned to their normal eating habits. He argues that successful, long term weight loss involves gaining the tools to have a healthy relationship with food, which this diet does not provide.
“There’s no magic bullet, there’s no magic pill. There are a lot of different ways to lose weight – some are good, some are bad – and I just think this is a bad way to lose weight,” Dr. Travis says.