Nutrition diet

Ketogenic enteral diet: NHS specialist recommends drip feed for weight loss


The most extreme diet ever? Imagine being drip fed for ten days just to lose weight – now even top NHS specialist recommends it

It could be the most shocking and controversial diet to ever hit Britain.

It’s such an extreme, drastic diet that it makes LighterLife’s shake system look like a daily five-course banquet. The KEN diet, or Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition, involves eating nothing at all.

Instead, for ten days at a time, a patented liquid formula of protein and nutrients is poured directly into the stomach through a plastic tube that goes up the patient’s nose and is stuck to their face.

Those on the KEN diet, (Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition), absorb a patented liquid formula of protein and nutrients through a plastic tube that goes up their nose.

At the other end of the tube is an electric pump, which operates day and night to deliver two liters of formula in 24 hours.

While on the KEN, dieters can lead their lives normally, but must carry the pump and fluid in a bag or backpack and hang them near their bed at night. They are allowed to unhook themselves from the pump for an hour a day – to bathe – and can drink water, tea, coffee (without milk, sugar or sweetener) or herbal teas without sugar with the tube in it.

Patients can still eat or drink the wrong things if they wish, but they are not hungry after a few days and, of course, they have chosen to go on a diet.

KEN works by sending the body into a controlled starvation, forcing it to use its own fat for energy. And it works fast. Each cycle of KEN removes up to 10 percent of body weight in just ten days, apparently without causing muscle loss or inducing hunger.

Not eating for ten days takes your mind off food – which to me was associated with stress and guilt.

The foodless diet originated in Italy and has taken the country by storm. It was invented by Gianfranco Cappello, Associate Professor of General Surgery at La Sapienza Hospital of the University of Rome. Cappello is a global expert in artificial nutrition and has successfully treated 40,000 patients with the KEN diet.

Now KEN has arrived in Britain, and he’s not being promoted by a charlatan of the night. Instead, it was introduced by Dr Ray Shidrawi, a well-respected consultant gastroenterologist at NHS Homerton University Hospital in London, who believes this could be the future of weight loss in the UK.

It was working with severely obese patients that sparked Dr. Shidrawi’s interest in the diet. “Without carbs, two things happen,” he says. “First, you’re not hungry. Second, your body begins to burn fat stores at a tremendous rate. When the diet is administered regularly for 24 hours, the body remains in fat burning mode.

“The heavier you are, the more weight you lose, so patients lose, on average, between four and nine percent of their total body weight in ten days.”

Each cycle of KEN eliminates up to 10% of body weight in just ten days

Each cycle of KEN eliminates up to 10% of body weight in just ten days

This means that a 14 year old will lose between eight and 18 lbs. And, after ten days without a tube, when the person has to stick to a healthy diet, the cycle repeats. So far, the UK clinic has treated around 60 patients, who alone have completed 150 ten-day cycles of KEN.

Last year Helen Jones, 45 (not her real name), of London, weighed 15½, which at 5ft 8 made her clinically obese. She says: “I had tried to lose weight but I have a stressful job in the city and I went into a spiral of discomfort, then I healed myself with food.”

Her sister-in-law suggested Dr Shidrawi and Helen join. “I felt good during the treatment – I had no hunger at all. I lost 15 pounds the first time around, then booked an additional three cycle course. I had ten days off in between, during which I ate a healthy diet as recommended by the clinic.

“Not eating for ten days keeps you from thinking about food, which to me was associated with stress and guilt. Socializing was tough though – it’s hard to feed a black coffee while everyone else is eating ‘

Helen completed her fifth KEN cycle last month and lost a total of 50 pounds, reducing her weight to 11th place. But is it safe to lose weight like this? Helen Bond, state registered dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, said: “It just seems like the latest in a series of weight loss diets to me.

“It shocks me that people agree to have nasogastric (NG) tubes inserted to lose weight. Can you imagine walking into a meeting with an NG tube in your nose?

“Of course, you will lose weight quickly with such limited calories, but no one should lose weight so quickly. We recommend that you lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, over a long period of time, during which you learn to manage your food and drink intake. The psychological and emotional reasons for overeating also need to be addressed, which this plan fails to do.

But Dr Shidrawi is adamant that he is safe. He says, “Before taking a patient, we take a fully detailed medical history. “We also check their body composition – how much fat, muscle, etc., both before and after treatment. Sixty-six percent of the weight patients lose is fat, 30 percent is water, and they don’t lose muscle at all.

Dr Shidrawi maintains that his diet is more natural than our current way of eating high in carbohydrates. “The first humans all lived on a ketogenic (fat burning) diet of meat and fat. Of course, we couldn’t put someone on a diet like this for weeks, but for ten days it is safe and improves health.

Almost anyone can follow the KEN diet, although it is not suitable for people with kidney disease or allergy to milk protein. And unlike the high protein Atkins diet, it is recommended for people with heart problems. The KEN diet formula “is not a high protein diet, which can strain the kidneys,” says Dr Shidrawi.

DIE TO BE THIN
Prolonged
famine in humans leads to the organ
damage and death

The main side effect, he adds, is constipation, caused by a complete lack of fiber. But all patients are given laxatives and are also advised to test their urine daily. Ketones (created when your body burns its own fat) are passed through urine and breath, so another side effect is bad breath. Dr Shidrawi agrees that it can be difficult to diet.

“You are not hungry, but you can feel very tired. My wife did and lost 11 pounds in ten days, but she felt terrible, exhausted. But then she didn’t have a lot of weight to lose.

Isn’t the process of getting in the tube horribly unpleasant? Again, Dr Shidrawi insists not. “I know the concept is worrisome and scary, but we are using an ultra-thin tube designed for children. There is no sensation of the liquid passing through the throat. Conventional wisdom dictates that the weight lost this fast will be regained with the same speed. Again, Dr Shidrawi says this is not a problem.

“Cappello has data on 1,800 patients and it shows that a year later, 85% of the weight remained at rest. KEN won’t stop you from gaining weight like we all tend to, from year to year, but it resets the clock – in ten days you can lose the equivalent of a year of creeping weight gain. .

As for the inconvenience of lugging the pump around and the social stigma of having a plastic tube hanging from your nose, Dr Shidrawi shrugs. “The pump is very light and extremely quiet,” he says. “And my patients report that people are helping them with their bags – they often think they have cancer and are on medical treatment.”

At his new private clinic in London, Dr Shidrawi priced the treatment, including ten days of nutrition, supplements and the pump loan of £ 1,000, £ 375 for the initial cycle and £ 350 for the following.

“It’s important to me that ordinary people can afford this treatment,” he says. “I see the difference it makes. They have often tried and failed, and have given up hope of losing weight. It gives them hope. And for some of them, it brings them back to life.

Other experts, however, are skeptical. Independent nutritionist Ian Marber says, “This is probably the most extreme diet I have ever come across. I am stunned that this is being offered to people who are not sick, or at the very least morbidly obese. It’s a terrible accusation from the times we live in that food is such an enemy that people want to do that.

But Dr Shidrawi is unrepentant. “If diets worked, if healthy foods worked, we wouldn’t be obese. People try and fail, so what do we do, watch obesity and let it happen? I will not do that.’


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