K-E Diet Craze: Miami Doctor Puts Brides-To-Be On Feeding Tubes to Lose Weight

Miami just might be the most image-conscious, beauty-obsessed place on Earth. So it's no surprise that our sexy, superficial city is the American epicenter of a new controversial diet craze.

It's called ketogenic enteral nutrition, or the K-E diet for short. Translation: a doctor threads a feeding tube through your nose and down your esophagus, delivering an 800-calorie liquid mixture of fat and protein straight into your stomach. You could lose 20 pounds in 10 days.

Critics say the idea is crazy, even dangerous. But Bay Harbor Islands doctor Oliver Di Pietro -- the only physician in the country to currently offer the procedure -- swears the $1,500 is "simple and safe."

Dr. Di Pietro declined to talk to Riptide, but said in a statement that the K-E diet is meant to "jump start" a longer weight loss program:

The science is based on providing your body with only proteins and fats without carbohydrates or sugars, which force your body into what is called ketosis; this means your body burns up your stores of fat but not muscle because the program is only 10 days long. Because it is delivered to the body in a unique way through the K-E Tube, it works effectively and quickly.
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Other doctors warn that such extreme low-calorie diets can cause kidney stones, headaches, and dehydration. Di Pietro says the principle side effects are bad breath and constipation due to the lack of fiber in the food.

Since the New York Times first wrote about Di Pietro's practice on Bay Harbor Island, public reaction has been harsh.

Someone on ABC's website called the practice "appalling" and "wrong on so many levels."

"This matter is personal to me," the comment continued. "My daughter who is now three has relied on a feeding tube to survive since birth."

"What a trade-off," said another commenter. "Lose 20 pounds and gain bad breath and constipation instead. I think I'll keep the 20 pounds."

Here is Di Pietro's own video promoting the K-E diet:

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Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.