Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Ketogenic Enterel Nutrition (KEN) Diet

The majority of people would probably opt for a quick weight loss method over a prolonged diet. Unfortunately, fast results means taking drastic measures, often by following some bizarre or even unsafe diet.

The Ketogenic Enterel Nutrition or KEN for short, is one of the most extreme diets to arrive in Britain and requires eating no food at all. Perhaps more surprisingly, the diet was invented by a world renowned specialist in artificial feeding, Italian Professor (Gianfranco Cappello) and introduced to Britain by a highly respected NHS consultant (Dr Ray Shidrawi).

This is a diet in the extreme. In fact, it’s not really a diet in the true sense at all. A diet, according to Oxford Dictionaries  means: (noun) the kinds of food that a person, animal or community habitually eats; or a special course of food to which a person restricts themselves, either to lose weight or for medical reasons; OR (verb) restrict oneself to small amounts of or special kinds of food in order to lose weight.

What is the Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition (KEN) Diet?

Woman with Pump
The KEN diet is an extreme, very low calorie (virtual starvation) diet which is followed for cycles of 10 days. Dieters consume 130 calories a day via a nasal gastric tube which is fed through the nose, and down into the stomach. This tube is attached to a pump which administers liquid nutrition through the tube on a 24-hour basis, pumping 2 litres of formula during the day and night.

Dieters must keep the tube in place all day and night, although they may remove it for a maximum of one hour per day for washing. During the daytime, dieters can carry the pump around with them, usually in a bag or backpack and must hang it up by their bed overnight.

Prospective followers of the KEN diet must undergo full medical checks and will be taught how to operate the pump. Daily routines include measuring Ketone concentration in their urine, monitoring their weight and bowel movements and noting how hungry they are on a scale of 1 to 10.

How Does the Diet Work?

The Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition diet works by drastically reducing the amount of calories each day by infusion of a protein liquid through a nasal gastric tube. This continual infusion creates a state of ketosis, much like the Atkins diet, whereby the body starts burning up fat resources for energy. This also removes feelings of hunger.

How Long Does the Diet Last?

The KEN lasts for an initial cycle of 10 days. This includes 24 hours a day receiving nutrients via the gastric tube. After the first cycle, dieters return to ‘normal’ eating whereby they should follow a healthy eating plan. After 10 days back on normal food, they can repeat another cycle of 10 days on the KEN. How many cycles are repeated should be discussed with the doctor.

Who is it Suitable For?

Anyone who needs to lose weight can follow the KEN diet apart from the following three categories:

1. People who can’t take a normal amount of protein;
2. Those who are allergic to milk proteins;
3. Children less than 14 years old.

It could be suitable for those who have tried and failed to lose weight while following other more conventional diets. It could also be another route to try for those who are extremely overweight and want to avoid undergoing gastric surgery.

However, due to the fact that dieters must be attached to the drip for a minimum of 23 out of 24 hours a day, it may be difficult for those who have many social or other engagements away from the home.

How Much Weight Can You lose? 

Those following the KEN diet can hope to lose between 7% to 10% of their initial body weight during the first 10-day cycle. Dieters then follow a healthy, weight maintenance diet for 10 days before commencing another 10 day cycle of KEN which promotes further weight loss.

What Can You Eat or Drink? 

Dieters eat no solid food at all while on the diet. However, they can drink while the tube is in place. Drinks include water, chamomile tea or black tea and coffee without sugar or milk. The nutrition liquid which contains protein and nutrients, provides 130 calories each day.

Are There any Side Effects? 

As might be expected from such an extreme diet, there are side effects. Most obvious side effects include:

Due to the complete lack of fibre in the diet, constipation becomes an obvious problem. As such, dieters are supplied with laxatives and must test their urine on a daily basis.

Bad Breath
In common with other diets, such as the Atkins Diet, which restrict carbohydrates, bad breath can become an unpleasant side effect. This is due to the ketones created when the body starts burning its fat resources.

While dieters may not be particularly hungry, they can suffer from extreme tiredness. The huge calorie restriction is of course near starvation levels. Surviving on 130 calories a day means the body is using up its fat resources for energy and without a regular intake of carbohydrates and a balanced diet, those on the KEN diet are likely to feel drained after a few days.

Heartburn and Acid Reflux
This side effect is more likely if dieters forget to take medication which helps reduce the amount of acid in the stomach.

Nausea or Vomiting
Triggers can include a clogged gut or intestine or from taking the laxative too quickly.

How Much Does it Cost? 

For treatment at Dr Shidrawi’s London clinic the costs are £375 for the first 10 day cycle and £350 per subsequent cycle. This price includes hiring the pump, supplements and a tub of protein solution sufficient for 10 days.

The Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition Diet or KEN, was invented by Gianfranco Cappello, an associate professor of general surgery in Italy. Professor Cappello is a world specialist in artificial feeding who has successfully treated 40,000 patients, both obese and malnourished using the KEN method. The diet has been introduced to Britain by Dr Ray Shidrawi, a well respected consultant at the NHS Homerton University Hospital in London.

For more information visit Prof. Gianfranco Cappello's website:

© Diets and Calories 2012


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