What Is the Tongue Patch Diet?

Eliza Martinez
Doctor examining patient's mouth

People who want to lose weight are often willing to try anything to shed those stubborn pounds. When everything else has failed, some people turn to extreme measures. Research on the Tongue Patch Diet is very scant, but the creators of the patch tout it as a simple way to keep you from overeating. It's important to talk to your doctor before starting any new weight loss program, but understanding the Tongue Patch Diet can help you decide if it's right for you.

How the Patch Works

Pioneered in the United States by Dr. Nikolas Chugay, who markets the patch as an innovative way to help overweight individuals lose weight, the patch is made from hard mesh and is sewn directly to the tongue. The idea is that the patch makes eating unpleasant, which cuts down on the amount of food a person will eat while it's attached. While his product is based on those used in Latin America and not his own creation, Chugay has successfully attached his patch to more than 80 patients.

The patch interrupts normal eating habits, says Chugay, which can help overweight people drop stubborn weight. The patch is generally worn for one month, according to ABC News and is then removed. The patch costs about $2,000.

Eating with the Patch

As designed, the tongue patch makes it very uncomfortable -even painful- to eat. Eating solid foods isn't recommended for the diet. According to Fox News, Chugay has created a liquid supplement to go along with the plan, which costs extra on top of the cost of the procedure to have the patch placed.

It's important to only eat the following items while the patch is on your tongue.

  • Dr. Chugay's liquid supplement, which contains a mixture of carbohydrates, fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals
  • Liquid diet shakes
  • Low-calorie beverages

The plan calls for 800 liquid calories per day for the entire month the patch is in place, notes ABC News.

Patch Removal

After a month is complete, the stitches that hold the patch in place are snipped and the patch is taken off. Wearing the patch longer than a month could leave it grown to the skin of your tongue, says Chugay in an interview with the Huffington Post. Once the patch is removed, dieters can return to eating solid foods. Removal of the patch takes only a couple of minutes.

Pros

Despite how strange it sounds, the Tongue Patch Diet does have a couple of benefits. It's important to weigh the pros with the cons before deciding whether the program is right of you. Consider the following potential perks of the patch.

  • Wearing the patch helps change your eating habits. While you wear the patch, it's painful to eat solid foods. "It takes about 30 days to change a habit. That's what we are doing. We are helping people to change habits," Chugay tells ABC News.
  • The patch is less expensive than other surgical weight loss procedures, such as gastric bypass or LAP-BAND® surgery, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Cons

As with any medical procedure, there are side effects that you need to consider before having the tongue patch placed. Talk them over with your doctor, especially if you have health conditions that might make the diet unsafe for you.

The following complications can occur and you should be aware of them.

  • Bleeding, infection and damage to the tongue are concerns expressed by Dr. Richard Chaffoo in the Huffington Post. Anytime a foreign object is attached to your body, you run the risk of the sutures becoming infected or continuing to bleed. At the same time, if the patch isn't placed properly, it can damage the structure and function of your tongue.
  • Dr. Chaffoo also warns dieters that the patch could become dislodged and obstruct airways. This can hinder breathing, which is, of course, very dangerous.
  • Eliminating whole foods for an entire month can lead to nutritional deficiencies that can interfere with good overall health.
  • The calorie intake is very restricted and is less than the average toddler needs, notes Fox News. This can interfere with energy, concentration and the ability to complete everyday tasks.

Weight Loss Results

According to Chugay, dieters who follow the Tongue Patch Diet can lose up to 20 pounds in one month, with some participants losing even more than that. Chugay tells ABC News that 70 percent of his clients have lost an average of 16 pounds. However, once dieters return to normal eating, they may put some of the weight back on due to the increase in calorie intake.

Making the Decision Simple

The best thing you can do if you want to lose weight is to cut calories from your diet and exercise more. However, if you want some help, the Tongue Patch Diet might be an effective temporary choice. Combine the patch with a healthy mix of exercise.

The diet doesn't have any specific recommendations, but physical activity is an important part of any weight loss regime. Once you have the patch removed, continue working out regularly and eat a healthy mix of low-calorie foods from all the food groups, encourages Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD in Fox News. That way, you'll feel healthy, maintain your weight loss and look great too.

What Is the Tongue Patch Diet?