Human Chorionic Gonadotropin or hCG is a hormone produced by the syncytiotrophoblast. In laymans terms it is a hormone produced by a fertilized egg after conception. The hCG diet is the latest craze in weight loss diet programs. By administering this hormone orally or through injection it claims to yield otherworldly weight loss, up to a few pounds a day.
How the hCG Diet Works
The theory behind this hCG diet is that by injecting or supplementing it, it will suppress hunger and promote fat burning in order to provide fuel for your cells. Most of these hCG diet plans suggest a diet of no more than 500 calories each day, combined with the hCG hormone it claims to “fix” metabolism and help you lose weight by a few pounds a day.
Nutrition experts and dieticians couldn’t disagree more about the claims the hCG diet makes. The weight loss experienced by people following this dangerous hCG diet is a result of the extremely low caloric intake, essentially starving themselves to lose weight. The Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone itself has very little to do with the weight loss these dieters experience.
Dangers of the hCG Diet
By restricting your diet to only 500 calories a day, it is next to impossible to achieve a sufficient nutrient intake for the day. This leaves many who attempt this diet with severe nutrient deficiencies. Starving your body will result in fat loss, but also muscle loss. This may seem effective because the scale will report a lower weight, but this artificial weight that is lost undoubtedly returns. When the weight returns, it will come back as strictly fat. Giving you no real fat loss benefits, actually giving you much worse results because of the loss of lean muscle that helps burn up calories naturally.
Nutrient deficiency is already a widespread concern in North America, with a large percentage of the population who are deficient in vital minerals such as Iodine, Magnesium and Zinc. Nutrients that are essential for the healthy function of our body are also in limit supply in a typical North American diet, Vitamin D is one of the most common deficiencies and one of the most detrimental to our health. By restricting your diet further by only allowing 500 calories you will most certainly be deficient in these and many more nutrients and minerals. This will have serious health side effects and will actually increase fat build up because your body will go into starvation mode and won’t be able to process fats effectively.
hCG Diet Controversial History
In 1954 a book entitles “Pounds and Inches” was published by a British Endocrinologist named Albert T. W. Simeons. He proposed the use of the hCG hormone in conjunction with an ultra low calorie diet. According to his findings it had a substantial effect on weight loss with next to no negative health effects. He studied pregnant women in India as well as overweight boys with pituitary problems. Treating them with low doses of the hCG hormone and claiming that fat was lost and lean muscle tissue was preserved.
Simeons findings were not reproduced by other researchers. In 1976 the FDA required Simeons to include a disclaimer that read “These weight reduction treatments include the injection of HCG, a drug which has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective in the treatment of obesity or weight control. There is no substantial evidence that HCG increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or “normal” distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restrictive diets.” This disclaimer was required for any advertisements or claims when referring to hCG.
This was not the only intervention by the FDA regarding the hCG diet and claims people would make. The fact is that the hCG diet is ineffective and extremely hazardous to your health.
Homeopathic hCG for weight control is not an effective way to lose weight. Claims about such weight loss are unfounded and probably refer to the severely strict calorie intake that is associated with the hCG diet.
If you are thinking of subscribing to this diet or any other diet, it is important to consult your doctor first. However it is unlikely any health professional would endorse such a diet, considering the extreme health repercussions.