Mark Sanchez — For the past some years, the HCG diet has gained both credits and controversies. Some say it works, while others, particularly those from the medical industry, have remained skeptical. But because it promises rapid weight loss, thousands of people are latching on to this diet regime. The truth is the HCG diet is either a miracle weight loss solution or just another marketing hype, depending on who’s talking. This article seeks to examine what makes the HCG regimen a good or bad diet option.
First, what is this diet plan all about?
Advertisers of HCG diet all claim that it can actually help a person lose 30 lbs in just a month. That’s one pound a day! The diet plans involves two things – the HCG and low-calorie diet. HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, a kind of hormone that is generally produced by women during pregnancy. The hormone is taken through injection which can be administered by a doctor or the dieter himself. The plan doesn’t end there. The dieter has to make sure he or she keeps their calorie consumption at a maximum of 500 calories per day.
People looking to adopt the HCG diet are encouraged to eat more organic fruits and vegetables, high-fibre foods, and sugar-free products. Typically, a day’s meal consists of a cup of coffee and a little citrus fruit for breakfast, fish and asparagus for lunch, and another fruit serving for dinner.
The HCG Controversy
But if the plan is so safe, why is it that, until now, HCG for weight loss hasn’t been approved by the FDA? While the HCG supporters show amazing pictures of men and women losing massive weight in just a month or so, comparing the ‘before’ and ‘after’ results, and telling inspiring stories about a woman who has been fat all her life and found hope in the HCG diet, the government and the medical community continue to dispose of these credits and insist that the diet is a total crap, which is not just ineffective but also risky.
The FDA has long approved the use of HCG only for women and men who are having fertility issues, and not merely for those who are looking to burn excessive body fat. In 2011, the agency warned that it is illegal to use or sell HCG for weight loss. Although they did not say the product is highly dangerous, the FDA said it is deceptive because there has not been any scientific study that supports the claim that it supports weight loss. This is probably the reason why HCG remains to be a prescription medication, meaning, consumers aren’t allowed to purchase it without first consulting a doctor. FDA also required the manufacturers of HCG injections to add a warning label on their products that inform the public that there’s no proof that HCG accelerates weight loss or suppresses hunger.
According to Pieter Cohen from the Harvard School of Medicine, the reason why people say they are losing weight with the HCG diet is because of the calorie restriction and not actually the drug.
In a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers analyzed 14 clinical studies made on HCG diet and found that HCG was no more effective in promoting weight loss than a placebo. The researchers concluded that the hormone has ‘no value’ in fat loss.
HCG: A crash diet?
According to experts, HCG has a couple of negative effects to the body. These include irregular heartbeat, imbalance in the electrolytes levels (which is essential in keeping the nerves and muscles functioning properly), and an increased risk in gallstone formation. They also criticize the “500 calories a day” goal, referring to this diet regime as tantamount to malnutrition. To stay healthy and active, women should consume 2,000 calories per day while men must maintain their 2,500 calorie needs. Although they agree that weight loss can be stimulated with proper choice of foods – such as organic fruits and vegetables, the amount required under the HCG diet is not enough to maintain a person healthy while undergoing fat loss.
Keri Gans from the American Diabetic Association pointed out that the side effects of HCG diet can be overwhelming and they can be experienced by dieters even during the first day of implementation. “One can feel extremely tired and irritable,” he added.
Despite all these, the number of people trying the HCG diet increases each day. This could be attributed to the promise that they will lose excessive amounts of fat. But the question now is this: is it worth the risks involved?
About the Author
Mark Sanchez writing on behalf of dietingdirection.com, Mark Sanchez has gained a reputation for creating and recommending fitness resources that get results.