The Naked Truth: Tongue Patch Diet

Part 1: An L.A. clinic sews plastic mesh onto patients' tongues to make it hurt to eat.
7:02 | 08/02/13

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Transcript for The Naked Truth: Tongue Patch Diet
Want more friends, more money, even more sex? Then, research says be better looking. It is the naked truth of lookism, especially during these stripped down summer months. In fact, just this week, a new jersey judge ruled that some atlantic city casino waitresses could be legally fired for putting on weight. So, how to lose it? Just take a look at the newest diet craze that might have you saying "hold your tongue." Literally. Here's cecilia vega. Reporter: From the surgical, think liposuction, stomach stapling and the lap-band, to scary, like the cotton ball diet. I've heard of people eating the cotton balls with the orange juice. And it makes you think you're full but you're not. Reporter: To the downright disgusting. That's not a jar of noodles. It's the main ingredient in the tapeworm diet. Everybody looks like they want to vomit right now. Reporter: You dine out while the parasite dines in your digestive tract. There's seemingly no limit to the lengths people will go to lose it. And if you thought the story we brought you last year about the feeding tube diet was extreme? I'm down two dress sizes. Reporter: Well, wait until you see this. I'm determined to lose weight. I'm willing to do anything, at this point. I'm so desperate to lose weight. Reporter: These two women are about to have a piece of hard plastic mesh sewn onto their tongues. It will inflict pain if they try to eat any solid food. Marlene beltran weighs 169 pounds because of her out-of-control appetite. I get, like, cravings. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I'll just be, like, "oh, I want a brownie," or "i want ice cream." This time, I'm just really motivated and I am almost 21 and I do have plans, and I want to look my best and feel good. I love eating everything. Reporter: Lysander lanuza is 200 pounds of all-you-can-eat. American food, filipino food. Korean. It's heaven. Reporter: Their goal is to each lose 20 pounds in one month. Marlene wants to begin dating. Lysander has a bikini and a deadline. In a month's time, I'll be going to hawaii and I'll be wearing this bikini and I'll -- hopefully, I'll be looking great. So, this is our patch. And we put it right on the interior portion of her tongue. Reporter: It's called the tongue patch. Cosmetic surgeon dr. Nikolas chugay introduced the procedure in the u.S. Four years ago after first seeing it done in latin america. I thought, you know, this is a good way to help people lose weight quickly. Our first stitch is already in. I am just going to put four knots on it. Make sure it stays in there. He said the way it works was if you eat solid food, your tongue rolls back and it would cause pain. Reporter: Chugay says lysander is his 81st patient as he pioneers the process here, in what is arguably the plastic surgery capital of the country, southern california. But that's nothing compared to body-conscious venezuela. One clinic in caracas has stitched patches on more than 800 tongues. Is the goal of the tongue patch so that your tongue hurts when you go to swallow food? It's a pattern interrupt. When patients want to swallow food, they realize, "hey, i cannot do that." That's why I have this patch here. So it reminds them. Reporter: But you're sewing a foreign object into somebody's mouth. Is that healthy? Well, it's not unhealthy. Okay, the surgery's all finished. Wow! I can't feel my tongue. Reporter: She'll be able to speak normally in a few hours when the anesthetic wears off. But all that greasy fried food she loves? Forget it. It's a strict 800-calorie per day liquid diet of bad shakes and low cal beverages until the patch is removed in one month. How much weight are you guaranteed to lose with a tongue patch? I cannot say that you are guaranteed. But an average weight loss is anywhere from 18 to 20 pounds. In that one month's time. Reporter:18 to 20 pounds. At a cost of $2,000! Seem hard to swallow? Maybe. Lysander is paying full price. But dr. Chugay is doing marlene's procedure for free because we are recording it. I was told that food gets stuck on the patch, too, so even if you want to cheat a little, you get caught. Reporter: My tongue hurts talking about this with you. No, I'm not nervous about the pain or anything. I'm kind of excited. Reporter: On the morning of her appointment, marlene is more concerned about organizing all the clothes she hopes to soon be able to wear. These are all jeans. Let me see. They're still brand new. Reporter: They have tags on. Did you buy them thinking you were going to fit into these at some point? Yeah. I did, and then once they didn't fit I was just, like, I'll lose weight. I'll fit into them. But that never happened. You ready? Mm-hmm. All right, stick your tongue out for us. Good. Perfect. Reporter: Dr. Chugay reminds her that as of now, she's on that same low calorie liquid diet. And three times a day, you start taking that, okay? Mm-hmm. And no cheating. No twinkies. Reporter: After only ten minutes, the patch is in place. Good girl! All done. Reporter: What's it feel like? I can't talk! Reporter: That seems pretty easy. It was quick. I can't feel it. Reporter: You don't feel it? Have you ever received any flak from colleagues in the medical community for this? No, I haven't. Reporter: Dr. Chugay, meet dr. Christine petti. I think it's ridiculous. Reporter: And dr. Rob huizenga. I think it's a barbaric procedure. Reporter: She's also a plastic surgeon. I could never advise a procedure that would cause a patient pain. Pain is not a good thing for anybody. Reporter: Better known as dr. H, he specializes in long-term weight loss, spending 14 seasons as an expert on "the biggest loser." This is so primitive an approach, you could hire somebody to hold a gun to your head and threaten to shoot you every time you eat. You could have somebody with a hammer hit you over the head every time you threaten to have something to eat. Reporter: Would you do this on your own body? I would. Reporter: You haven't done it on any of your family members, have you? Well, so far, I have no volunteers. Reporter: When we come back, what is it like living with a mesh patch stitched to your tongue? 30 days on america's most extreme diet. I want a burger really bad. A cheeseburger. Will one of these women wish they have never done it. I just want a burger. And, will the weight come off?

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