The HCG diet is another diet that follows in a growing trend of diets weight loss designed to help manage blood sugar levels and appetite.
HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. You can see why most people prefer the call it the HCG weight loss diet. Basically it is a complete hormone produced during pregnancy which is made by the developing embryo. So, what does this have to do with a weight loss diet?
“hCG is ineffective in dieting and should not be used” (Rabe et al, 1987)
The idea of the HCG diet was developed by Dr. A.T.W. Simeons in 1971 and detailed in his book Pounds & Inches: A New Approach To Obesity. It seems a little depressing to think that a “new” approach to obesity was written almost 40 years ago, and they the obesity epidemic rages on. However, this so called diet is not one that we recommend anyone follows, and it seems that in the 1970’s most health professionals were quick to ignore it also.
Dr. Simeons was studying the role of HCG in the development of babies when he noticed that one of the effects of HCG when administered was:
“When such patients (overweight boys) were given small daily doses they seemed to lose their ravenous appetite though they neither gained nor lost weight. Strangely enough however, their shape did change. Though they were not restricted in diet, there was a distinct decrease in the circumference of their hips.”
As a result of this observation Dr. Simeons decided to pursue this line of research as a way to help people manage their appetite and reduce weight. His studies led him to the conclusion that the hormone actually helps to relocated fat, he called it “fat on the move”. This fat on the move is not just a way to remove fat but also it is to be used as a form of energy, to replace food. You literally start using your body fat for energy when you have HCG treatment.
“I found that as long as such patients were given small daily doses of HCG they could comfortably go about their usual occupations on a diet of only 500 Calories daily and lose an average of about one pound per day.”
The problem for people who wish to lose weight is simple though – HCG is only ever found in the body of a pregnant woman. Dr. Simeons made a very clear warning to anyone looking to lose weight:
Dr. Simeons Warning About Using HCG For Weight Loss
“I must warn the lay reader that what follows is mainly for the treating physician and most certainly not a do-it-yourself primer. Many of the expressions used mean something entirely different to a qualified doctor than that which their common use implies, and only a physician can correctly interpret the symptoms which may arise during treatment. Any patient who thinks he can reduce by taking a few “shots” and eating less is not only sure to be disappointed but may be heading for serious trouble. The benefit the patient can derive from reading this part of the book is a fuller realization of how very important it is for him to follow to the letter his physician’s instructions.”
He could not have made it any clearer really, which means that it is a real shame that so many companies are now exploiting this idea and sell HCG hormones to the layperson with nothing but a simple leaflet to guide them.
Various problems can occur which is why it is vital that any patient on this “diet” is supervised by a medical professional. Some people become immune to the HCG hormone which means that weight loss will stop. It is very dangerous to start increasing dosage in the hope that weight loss starts again as this can cause serious damage to internal organs.
Anyone undertaking the HCG weight loss plan needs to be checked daily by a doctor to ensure that they are well and that treatment can continue.
What most people are really doing is just the 500 Calorie Diet, that will still aid weight loss. We can share this here. However, this is not a good way to lose weight.
Dr. Simeons 500 Calorie Weight Loss Diet
Since this diet plan was devised by Dr. Simeons later research has shown that it is better to consumer smaller, more frequent meals, when trying to lose weight. This plan sticks with the more traditional 3 meals a day method.
- Tea or coffee in any quantity without sugar. Only one tablespoonful of milk allowed in 24 hours. Saccharin or Stevia may be used.
- 100 grams of veal, beef, chicken breast, fresh white fish, lobster, crab, or shrimp. All visible fat must be carefully removed before cooking, and the meat must be weighed raw. It must be boiled or grilled without additional fat. Salmon, eel, tuna, herring, dried or pickled fish are not allowed. The chicken breast must be removed from the bird.
- One type of vegetable only to be chosen from the following: spinach, chard, chicory, beet-greens, green salad, tomatoes, celery, fennel, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage.
- One bread stick (grissino) or one Melba toast.
- One fruit: An apple, orange, or a handful of strawberries or one-half grapefruit.
- The same four choices as lunch (above.)
So this is simply a very strict calorie controlled diet. The idea is that anyone on the HCG program will not feel hungry enough to eat more than this. If you are not taking the medicine then you will no doubt feel very hungry on this diet.
Criticisms of the HCG Diet
The first and most crucial criticism of the HCG diet is simply that you have to be under medical supervision to follow this diet and this is not a diet that is covered by many health services. Other important criticisms:
- HCG has been banned by the athletic community because of its enhancement effect on muscle growth and risk to ill health
- No scientific study has shown that HCG actually aids weight loss in the way Simeons states – the weight loss may just be down to a calorie controlled diet that is low in sugar and processed foods (i.e. a caveman diet or low GI diet).
- The only way you can buy HCG is online and often what you are sold in HOMEOPATHIC HCG, What this means is that there is nothing in the medicine, and you are paying a lot of money for a sugar pill and a 500 calorie a day diet.
- A 500 calorie a day diet will lead to malnutrition, muscle deterioration and lethargy. You will waste away, not get slimmer and more toned.
- The 500 Calories Diet does not allow oily fish or healthy fats which are both essential to health and weight management.
- The moment you end this diet plan you will revert back to your old bad habits and put all the weight back on again.
Really this is a case of how the Internet can so easily provide bad advice on diet and weight loss. There is a huge amount of money in selling people sugar pills and diet plans that serve no function other than to starve a person. Although governments are attempting to regulate the industry more it seems to be an uphill task. If you want to lose weight fast then follow a tried and test Weight Loss Diet and Exercise Plan.
FDA – HCG Diet Products Are Illegal
On December 6th, 2011, the FDA declared HCG diet products illegal. They state the following on HCG:
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers to steer clear of these “homeopathic” human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) weight-loss products
- FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued seven letters to companies warning them that they are selling illegal homeopathic HCG weight-loss drugs that have not been approved by FDA, and that make unsupported claims.
Marketing of HCG products often make completely false claims, such as;
- They reset your metabolism
- They change “abnormal eating patterns”
- You can lose 20-30 pounds in 30-40 days
HCG is approved by FDA as a prescription drug for the treatment of female infertility.
The diet is potentially dangerous and can lead to malnutrition and health problems such as gallstone formation, damage to muscle and nerve function, and an irregular heartbeat. These restrictive diets can be “potentially fatal” according to the FDA.
Weight management is a lifestyle choice and not a quick fix. You need to lose weight through diet and exercise and develop a personal strategy that means you manage your own weight within your own environment. The best weight loss advice anyone can give you is the advice that you should empower yourself by reading and learning about fitness, diet and weight loss.
References and Web Resources:
- “Risk-benefit analysis of a hCG-500 kcal reducing diet (cura romana) in females.” by Rabe T, Richter S, Kiesel L, Runnebaum B.. Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 1987 May;47(5):297-307. Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3609673
- “HCG Diet Products Are Illegal” FDA.gov, 6th Devember 2011.
- Human chorionic gonadotropin Wikipedia.org