HOUSTON - A growing number of future brides are shedding unwanted wedding weight by spending several days on a feeding tube diet.
"Whenever they can't fit into a gown, they are devastated, crying. We have to do what we can but I mean if it doesn't fit what can we do? They have to lose the weight," said Rose Santivanez, who works at Houston's Bridal Mall.
Santivanez said she is not surprised to hear about the extreme diet brides and other patients are trying at a clinic in Bay Harbor Islands, Fla.
"People want to be perfect in this country. So I'm allowing them to do that," said Dr. Oliver Di Pietro on NBC's Today Show.
Di Pietro has been offering brides what he calls the K-E diet, a weight loss procedure that has patients receiving nourishment only through a feeding tube dripping 800 calories a day into their stomach.
"It's done by inserting a small feeding tube into the nose down through the stomach under local anesthesia, it's slightly uncomfortable but not terrible," Di Pietro said.
The diet recently highlighted in a New York Times article calls for patients to use the feeding tube 24/7 to be fed a combination of protein, fat and no carbs.
"It is creating a state of ketosis in their body. Keeping protein from being burned and it does result in weight loss but not in long term weight loss," said Shreela Sharma, the assistant director, of the Dietetic Internship Program at the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston.
Sharma said she is concerned weight loss centers may start offering the diet without the supervision of a physician.
"The tube needs to be placed by a health care professional and you need to be monitored," said Sharma.
The diet has been used in Europe but Sharma has not heard of it being used in the Houston area. The program was originally designed to help morbidly obese people. Sharma said she does not think it should be used by normal or slightly overweight people.
"When I think of a happy rosy bride that is not a picture that comes to mind if someone is on this diet right before their wedding," said Sharma.
She added the diet can strain kidneys, cause bad breath, dehydration, constipation and decreased energy levels.
Houstonians Local 2 asked about the feeding tube diet thought it was too extreme.
"I actually don't think it is a good idea. Be natural. Be yourself and don't torture yourself two weeks prior to your wedding," said Matt Shaner.
"I think it is dangerous. I think it is really sad people can't be happy with what they look like," said Alice Gates.
"I would never want to have to tell my children I put a feeding tube in my nose. That is what cancer patients do because they are dying. It is not what healthy grown adults should do," said Ashley Wenass.
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