Feeding Tube Diet Controversy

This week, there’s been a lot of controversy and discussion in the feeding tube world over the K-E Diet. The article claims that brides are using this diet to quickly lose up to 20 pounds in 10 days. This diet involves having an NG tube placed for 10 days, and the women are on continuous feeds for the duration.

Monday on the Today Show, Kathie Lee and Hoda did a segment on the diet, and basically made fun of it. You can find the clip here (it starts at 5:10).

There are many, many tubie moms who are outraged by the diet itself and KL and H’s coverage of it. They have posted pictures of their tube fed kids on the Today Show FB wall and written letters to NBC demanding an apology.

And I get it. I understand why they are upset. They look at brides using a device to lose weight that literally keeps our kids ALIVE as disrespectful and demeaning. And then two talk show hosts laugh about feeding tubes and people carrying around a bag of formula all day.

But me personally, I’m not that upset. I am a little annoyed at KL and H’s attitude about the bag- because yes, that’s what we do. Anytime we leave the house, Grayson’s backpack with his pump and bag of formula come with us. When we are at home, he’s attached to an IV pole. It’s really not that big of a deal- yes, it’s annoying, but we’re used to it.

And I understand that people have a negative reaction to seeing a tube threaded down a person’s nose into her stomach. I had to watch that procedure 4 or 5 times when Grayson had his NG, and it was horrific. He screamed bloody murder and there would always be a little bit of blood come up in the tube when they inserted it. He choked and gagged and screamed, and then once it was in, we had to tape it to his face. The one time my mom and I tried to put the tube in ourselves, instead of going into his stomach, it came out his mouth. Horrible.

Honestly, I don’t understand why people are so shocked that women are doing this. It’s just another crash diet. And let’s face it, when you are a bride, there’s an element of vanity there. I know I wanted to look my very best on my wedding day, just like every other bride. A LOT of brides do extreme diets or exercise programs to fit into their wedding dresses- no, it’s not healthy, but neither is eating grapefruit for 20 days straight or taking diet pills. And there’s liposuction, which to me is a lot more scary than having a feeding tube for a few weeks. And I’m not saying this diet is right or good, but I don’t think the women who are doing this are insulting our kids.

Do I think Kathie Lee and Hoda should apologize? Yes. I think the segment did nothing to educate the public about the true medical purpose of feeding tubes, what they look like, and how they work. And in general, people are clueless about tubes (and I am putting myself in that category prior to 6 months ago). Last Saturday, Grayson and I were in line to order at a restaurant and a woman very politely asked me if Grayson’s backpack/tube was a Camelbak. Of course inside I am hysterically laughing and thinking really? but I very politely “educated” her on feeding tubes. I heard another story the other day from a friend who was rudely told to take her daughter to the bathroom when she was tube feeding her in a restaurant. Turns out, the rude person thought she was being catheterized, but when my friend explained what she was actually doing, they had a nice conversation.

I certainly think there is a time to be outraged, especially when things in the media hurt our kids. But I also think a little compassion for ignorance can go a long way.

And just because I thought this was interesting, here’s another Today Show report on medical devices being used in unconventional ways. This one just makes me roll my eyes. I was waiting to see if there would be any controversy on it- so far, I haven’t heard any.

So there’s my two cents on this hot topic of the week- let the tomato throwing begin (but don’t be too mean to me please!)


  1. andmom on April 18, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    If I got upset at every stupid thing KL and H said, I'd never stop being upset. This diet is STUPID but – many things in life are. I wish they could maybe do another story on the actual medical use of feeding tubes, but they likely won't, and it likely wouldn't matter anyways. Because really, who watches KL and H?

  2. Diane on April 18, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    good point- people are going through lapbands,gastric bypass, stapling their jaws, putting metal screens on their tongues, acupuncture, crazy unsafe pills, clipping tight pins in their ears, pregnancy hormones and 500 calories a day, unregulated herbs from china.. and the list goes on..of life threatening procedures to avoid fat phobia..peer pressure at it's finest.Seeing a bride stick a tube down her nose and go with liquid food should not have shocked me.. but still it did..I wonder if our journey this winter of coming so close and fighting so hard to avoid interventions has given me new insights on food…getting to know so many who must have a tube to live… 🙂 I am glad you brought it up, I had 2 people mention the story to me this week in outrage on behalf of our Abby, and I love them for recognizing our scare this winter- but, in fact, a tube is nothing compared to botox,plastic surgery, colored contacts, ….grapefruit diets,cabbage soup diets… I think ya get the point 🙂

  3. Alex on April 18, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Interesting perspective! I like how you politely explain to the people you encounter all about your son's feeding tube. Way to go! And your boy's feeding tube and this stupid diet done by these crazy women couldn't be more different!!!

  4. Erin on April 18, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Wow, I had not seen any of this (ignorant I know, but I don't really watch the news), and watching the news clip was hard, that people would go to the extreme to lose weight, but you are right, it is just as crazy as many other ideas…I guess this just seemed crazier since it involves medical technology being used completely not how it should be. Ok, just watched KL and H and they could have been kinder, I don't see why the horrific part of this to them was carrying around food in a bag? Don't all people carry snacks with them in a purse? How is it that different to carry a bag of pediasure or formula, it is just how some people need it eat. I think they missed the mark of the real issue. (Society and weight issues and how extreme people are taking it…) But they annoy me anyway…

  5. Coco on April 18, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I totally agree with you. And the NG is horrible to watch. My son was constantly trying to pull it out and that was painful too. But yeah, all crash diets are stupid and unhealthy. I had a tape worm a few years ago (long story) and when googling for info on it I actually found people trying to buy/sell them for weight loss! A freaking tape worm people! Sick.

  6. Amber on April 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    I have several patients with colostomy bags and most people are disgusted by the fact that they have to empty their poop out of a bag that they carry around. But it's essential to their life. And I'm sure they wish they had another choice. I know it's different- but the point is that lots of people have special circumstances that aren't socially accepted just because it isn't the "norm". I love your attitude towards the whole thing!

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