The health and fitness column: The K-E liquid diet fad… quick wedding day weight loss or downright dangerous?

By Cara Quinn

The shocking photo of Jessica Schnaider has been beamed around the world over the past fortnight and at first glance she could easily be mistaken for a seriously ill patient, with her gaunt expression, jutting collarbones and tube through the nose.

This, however, is not the image of an ill woman but a walking advertisement for the latest diet ‘fad’ that has taken America by storm. 

The K-E diet has become increasingly popular with brides-to-be who are looking to shift the last few pounds before their wedding day. 

The program has dieters inserting a feeding tube into their nose that runs to the stomach. They’re fed a constant slow drip of protein and fat, mixed with water, which contains zero carbohydrates and totals 800 calories a day. 

Advocates of the diet claim that dieters can lose up to 20 pounds on the 10 day diet and it has been hailed by some doctors, such as Dr. Oliver Di Pietro, as a ‘hunger-free, effective way of dieting’, but are doctors selling out their patients’ health in order to make a quick buck?  With the hefty fee of $1,500 for the 10 day program, it certainly seems that way.

This craze is just another in a long line of money-grabbing schemes that feed on women’s insecurities and obsession with perfection. 

Dr. Di Pietro proudly declares that the before and after pictures ‘sell themselves’, which is an interesting use of words, only cementing the fact that these diets are not a lifestyle change but a ‘quick sale’, which could have unknown health implications for the consumer. 

I can imagine that anyone in the field of nutrition or fitness, as I am, would be echoing my concerns with this growing trend and questioning the intentions of such medical professionals. 

I have had clients, as well as family members, who have succumbed to such extreme measures, as they grew tired of slow weight loss and were drawn into the promises of expensive, liquid weight loss programs.

In one such case, a close family member of mine participated in such a ‘liquid diet’ which was advertised in pharmacies across the country, in the hand of a happy, glowing, size 8 model. The contrast between model and participant could not be more different. The mentioned family member was constantly moody and would throw massive tantrums.

The ‘healthy glow’ in the ad was contrasted with her dull, yellowish complexion and hair loss. It effectively is glorified starvation. Although she reached her goal of three stone weight loss in almost as many weeks, she piled it all back on… and more. 

It wasn’t that she didn’t stick to the ‘aftercare’ diet, she ate fruit and low-fat food, her body just clung to every morsel that she put into her mouth for fear she would submit it to such starvation again.

 In hindsight, and after losing the weight by committing to healthy diet plan and exercise regime, she said that she felt let down by the pharmacist that signed her up to the program as her symptoms and concerns were ignored during the program and any support was swiftly cut off when the money stopped leaving her purse. 

Such practise only fuels the growing epidemic of extremes in our severed society, with anorexia and obesity becoming an all too common occurrence.  

There is simply no substitute for a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise and instead of offering such dangerous extreme diet alternatives for monetary gain, these professionals should be offering long-term solutions to their patients, instead of papering over the cracks  with a ‘quick weight loss’ plaster.       

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