Months of winter forcing you to chow down on ‘comfort food’ making you feel like Violet Beauregarde? You’re in luck: the New York Times was kind enough to shine a spotlight on the latest diet trend sweeping the nation (in this case, a nation made up almost solely of prospective brides looking to shed a couple-twenty pounds): nasogastric tubes, which provide a highly controlled daily dose of calories after being inserted through the nostril, down the esophagus, and into the stomach.
Needless to say, this type of weight loss regimen isn’t for everyone — and in some experts’ opinions, shouldn’t be for anyone. As Time reports:
Dr. David Heber, director of the UCLA Risk Factor Obesity Program, says complications can also include aspiration, infection of the lung, kidney failure and erosion of tissues in the nose and throat. “People are taking an unnecessary medical risk by putting in a [feeding] tube,” he says. “To do it for no reason seems to me overly risky. Without medical supervision, if the protein and electrolyte levels are not monitored, it’s not safe.”
Of course, humans have experimented with destructive ways to maintain their figures since people realized they had figures. The ancient Romans would vomit between courses to make room for the next round. William the Conquerer adopted an all-alcohol diet in 1087 after becoming too fat to ride his horse. Unfortunately, he died that same year after supposedly falling off said horse, which gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “crash diet.” Even Lord Byron had some less-than-appealing practices to keep the poet pounds down:
Existing on biscuits and soda water or potatoes drenched in vinegar, he wore woolly layers to sweat off the pounds and measured himself obsessively. Then he binged on huge meals, finishing off with a necessarily large dose of magnesia.
Of course, if they’d existed in his day, I’m sure Byron would have been one of the first to purchase one of the many variations of the Jiggle-a-Tron 5000 that became popular in the early half of last century, especially considering that its main attraction seemed to be how little physical effort its users actually had to exert in order to reap its supposed benefits.
That said, it’s hypocritical to pretend that many of today’s high-tech solutions are any better. Take Japan’s 4 in 1 Pressotherapy Slimming Machine, which promises (in its own delightfully poetic way) that
With perfect combination with magicconversion curve & lymph conduction, fat elimination, breach of fat, magnetic skin tension, integrated with weight loss, body beautification, massage, and exercise, four-in-one body beautification instrument transmits 32 different types of myriametric wave signals to strengthen normal electrochemical process of human nerve endings and generate 32 different moving modes of fat in the body of patients so that the fat in different people will be completed decomposed.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Especially with a feeding tube up my nose.