Fad diet misuses feeding tubes

An Apple A DayBy Pam Ward, Western Baptist dietitian

Recent nutrition headlines revolve around an extreme weight loss diet aimed at brides trying to lose weight for their big day.

The K-E Diet (Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition) involves the use of a nasogastric feeding tube for 10 days and guarantees weight loss of up to 20 pounds. The costly process has potential for many side effects, including bad breath, constipation, kidney stones and the burning of muscle, including heart muscle.

Because the solution is carbohydrate-free the body is forced to use fat as an energy source and weight loss results. Of course, reducing daily caloric intake to 800, as this program does, should result in weight loss regardless of the composition or delivery route. 

Unfortunately, because of this misuse, tube feedings have been getting negative publicity; but they provide valuable assistance, when medically necessary.

Western Baptist dietitian, Pam WardFeeding tubes were designed to nourish people when necessary, not as a quick fix to look good for a special occasion. They can be necessary for short-term or long-term nutrition and can meet total needs or supplement oral intake.

Numerous conditions, such as dementia, stroke, gastroparesis, Parkinson’s disease and cancer, may benefit from tube feeding in all age groups, from premature infants to the elderly. In use since 1979, they benefit more than 200,000 people a year. They can improve quality of life significantly when used correctly. For some, deciding whether to have a feeding tube placed is a difficult decision enough without dealing with media misconceptions of the process.   

Send us your health and nutrition questions, and our team of dietitians will answer them each Thursday. Check here next week for more tips and answers to your questions.

About Baptist Health Paducah

Baptist Health Paducah is a regional medical and referral center, serving about 200,000 patients a year from four states. With more than 1,800 employees and 200 physicians, it offers a full range of services, including cardiac and cancer care, diagnostic imaging, women’s and children’s services, surgery, emergency treatment, rehabilitation and more. Since its humble beginning in 1953, Baptist Health Paducah has grown from 117 beds to 349 beds on a campus covering eight square blocks.
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