WOMEN desperate to shed a few pounds to fit into their little black dresses are being tempted to plump for a radical diet which involves being fed through a nasal tube, say nutritionists.
Models are already going on the Ketogenic Enteral Nutrition diet, according to the British Dietetic Association, and the organisation is worried everyday dieters will follow suit.
On 'KEN', a protein-rich but carbohydrate-free solution is constantly fed into the stomach 24-hours-a-day via a nasal tube, thanks to an electronic pump.
Dieters must carry a backpack containing up to four pints of solution.
Earlier this year it emerged a Florida doctor was offering a variation of the KEN diet to brides-to-be, and it has reputedly become keen with catwalk models.
The BDA has consequently named KEN as one of its “top five dodgy celebrity diets” of 2012.
Sian Porter, consultant dietitian and spokesman for the BDA, said: “It is shocking that people are electing to have naso-gastric tubes inserted in order to lose weight, usually reserved to treat sick or chronically ill people.
“Not only that but one of the side effects is having to take laxatives because this diet provides absolutely no fibre.
" Side effects of naso-gastric tubes can include damage to the oesophagus, if inserted incorrectly, as well as vomiting.
The KEN diet provides just 260 calories a day - all derived from 65g of protein.
Participants are allowed to disconnect the tube for half an hour at most, for the odd luxury like a sugar-free herbal tea.
The diet is already being offered on Harley Street and Porter feared other clinics could follow.
But Ray Shidrawi, who opened the private clinic after introducing the technique to Britain from Italy, said the BDA nutritionists should “eat their hats” for nominating KEN.
He said it was a clinically proven method enabling the seriously overweight to lose large amounts of fat quickly.
“The average patient loses 5kg [11lb] of pure fat per 10-day cycle,” he said.
Whereas most crash-course diets resulted in lost muscle mass, KEN was different.
He explained that starving the body of carbohydrates but not protein caused it to burn fat without devouring muscle tissue.
Drip-feeding the mixture kept patients constantly full by stimulating satiety hormones.
He said he had treated 250 patients in Britain so far, with a 100 per cent success rate.
However, he cautioned that he only treated those who were officially overweight - with a body mass index over 25 - who also had excess fat.
Dr Shidrawi, a consultant gastroenterologist at Homerton Hospital in east London, said it was "outrageous" for clinics to offer it to those who merely wanted to lose weight for aesthetic reasons.
It would be dangerous for dieters to attempt it themselves, he added.
"This is not a DIY job.
" However, he feared it was “only a matter of time” before “copycat” clinics started offering it for cosmetic reasons.