Brides desperately starving themselves to look their smallest for their ‘Big Day’ are now opting for emaciation options more outlandish than the alien regulars at the intergalactic Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars.
Winning the bizarre brideorexia — bridal efforts to quickly lose weight before the wedding — sweepstakes is the brand new K-E Diet (short for ketogenic enteral nutrition), which requires wannabe shrinking Alices to put a rubber feeding-tube up their nose for 10 consecutive days to pump in 800-calorie-a-day food supplements using a portable pump that they have to carry around.
Dieters on this plan do not eat at all but get their survival rations through a tube that is snaked in through their nose into their esophagus and stomach to provide proteins, fats and essential nutrients. No carbohydrates or sugars are given. This food combo forces the body to go into ketosis, an abnormal process is normally triggered by starvation where stores of fat get burned up quickly. Ketosis causes fatigue, constipation, nausea, and vomiting, while raising the chances of kidney damage, osteoporosis and heart disease over time.
This diet, claims its promoter Dr Oliver Di Pietro based in Florida in the US, helps people jumpstart weight loss and lose between 5 and 10 kg, depending on initial weight and whether or not they go the whole mile and stay on the plan for 10 days.
Added to the ignominy of walking around with a tube up your nose, K-E dieters have to go for urine and blood tests daily to rule out any damage to the body caused by the sudden change in diet. That apart, the tube insertion carries risk of nasal septum (the wall dividing the nostrils) damage, throat perforation, lung damage, gastrointestinal bleeding and infections, such as pneumonia.
Apart from nutritional deficiencies, any rapid weight loss — more than 2-3 kg a month — increases the chances of getting gall stones and electrolyte abnormalities, such as low potassium that causes muscle spasm and fatigue. Also, most people on drastic diets gain back the weight when the diet ends because what they have lost is water and lean muscle mass, not fat. What’s worse, the weight gained back return as mostly fat, not muscle.
The pressure to be a picture-perfect bride made headlines last year when Prince William’s then bride-to-be Kate Middleton rapidly dropped two dress sizes in the run-up to the royal wedding. What worked for her was the similar high-protein Dukan Diet, which is a French spin-off of the highly popular Atkins diet from two decades ago. Within weeks of mum Carole Middleton confessing the French plan helped her daughter get willowy, the English translation of Dr Pierre Dukan’s The Dukan Diet hit bookstores and turned into a cult classic in a world where one billion adults — one in seven — are overweight and more than 300 million obese. The diet promises weight loss without portion control or counting calories. The Dukan Diet is based on the food our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate, which was high in protein and vegetables and bans fruit, carbohydrates, sugar and added fat. Of the 100 foods that can be eaten in unlimited amounts, 72 are from animal and only 28 from plant sources.
As with these two new fads, most “new” and “revolutionary” diets are really old fad diets making an encore appearance. Most either use scientific jargon to promote or ban certain foods or food groups, or suggest that eating a certain way can change body chemistry to trigger weight loss.
The unfortunate truth is that only dependable way to lose weight and keep it off is through eating healthy and getting physically active. Anything else you try won’t work beyond a few weeks. So, instead of quick-fix diets, go for photoshopping your wedding pictures. It’s cheaper, quicker and a lot easier on your body and mind.