Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tell Me About the K-E Diet!

I just heard about this new K-E diet in Miami that lets you lose 10 or 20 pounds in 10 days. It's a special fat-burning formula, but where can I get it if I don't live in Miami? Or if I don't have $1500 to spend. Is there something else that I could substitute?
Rebecca J.

Hi Rebecca,

The K-E diet stands for "ketogenic enteral diet". Ketogenic means your body burns fat because you give it no source of carbohydrates. With this chemical imbalance, the body races to flush ketones out in the urine, and a significant weight loss is seen because of fluid loss. Enteral means the formula is given via your gastrointestinal tract--the way we usually feed ourselves.

This is the most horrible "diet plan" I've seen in my three decades as a registered dietitian. The "diet" formula consists of  the basic liquid protein diet that was popular in the 1970's (until several people died from electrolyte imbalance).  The way it works is, you only get 800 calories a day for the entire 10-day period. The fact is, if you only eat 800 calories a day (especially if it's just chicken and vegetables) you'll lose the same amount of weight. Take note, I am NOT recommending this chicken-and-vegetable strategy either! A lot of the weight loss is fluid (because you increase your urine output to flush out the ketones that build up as a back-up form of energy when you eat no carbohydrates). This means, once you go back to a regular diet you'll gain back several pounds of lost fluid weight. In a short time people usually gain back the rest of the fat weight they lost as well.

And there certainly are risks with inserting a naso-gastric tube. In the hospital, these naso-gastric tubes are only used for patients who are unable to eat enough; people who are in a coma, have had a stroke, or have a serious illness that keeps them from being able to get enough nutrition by chewing and swallowing their food. There can be issues from tube irritation in the esophagus, and in some cases the tube can be accidentally placed (or accidentally moved after being placed properly) and end up in the lung. When the feeding formula goes into the lung it usually results in pneumonia.

My advice? Run as far and as fast as you can from this extreme new fad diet. Naso-gastric feeding tubes have no place in the healthy functioning population outside of health-care facilities. And liquid protein diets will give no long-lasting weight loss results. This is why they go out of style as quickly as they come in.


  1. While reducing the calorie intake will help the diet, it will also put your body in s state where it'll find any "reasons" to avoid exercising.
    Rather then reducing calories, I prefer keeping the same intake BUT exercising more!

  2. Dieting. Not many people like it, but lots of people have tried it. What some people don't realize is that diets, some laughable and some scary, have existed long before the Atkins diet became popular.

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