You’ve probably read ads in magazines, or on the Internet, or heard about the HCG diet on television talk shows. You may have even wondered if you should look into it to lose those unwanted pounds. After all, a diet that promises a 1 lb per day weight loss sounds phenomenal, doesn’t it? If you had 30 lbs to lose, you could be rid of it in only 1 month! But many people, as well as medical specialists, are also asking, is losing weight that rapidly safe? Let me give you some information about the pros and cons of the HCG diet.
What Is The HCG Diet?
HCG is short for human chorionic gonadotropin – a chemical that is produced in pregnant women. In a pregnancy test, it is the HCG chemical in the urine that turns the test strip positive. How does it make you lose weight? It seems that Mother Nature configured a woman’s body to produce HCG during pregnancy as a fail-safe measure. HCG ensures that the fetus will get all the nutrients it needs from the mother’s fat stores, in the event the mother has no food to eat.
In the 1950’s, HCG’s weight loss properties were first discovered by a doctor named A.T.W. Simeons. Dr. Simeons found that HCG helped suppress the appetite while at the same time helped the body burn fat. The traditional HCG diet limited you to 500 calories a day, but the current HCG diet has upped that limit to 800 calories a day. With restriction of calories, your body draws on its reserves of fat to fuel the body’s energy needs. The less calories taken in, the more it draws on your fat reserves, the faster you lose weight – hence the promise of 1 lb per day weight loss.
Where does the HCG come in? As Dr. Simeons found, HCG helps to mobilize fat from your fat stores to burn for energy. As it does that, it is also said to suppress appetite. The physician-monitored HCG diet involves injections of a bioidentical form of the HCG hormone. That means, it is the same HCG chemical, yet artificially produced.
At home, or “over-the-counter” HCG diet versions involve taking homeopathically prepared HCG drops taken under the tongue 3 times a day. There is no taste to these drops. People who have gone on the HCG diet – either using the injections or the homeopathic drops – have claimed great success in rapid weight loss, said they felt great, and kept the weight off.
What Do You Eat On the HCG Diet?
The basic HCG diet recommends you eat the following:
- Protein: 2 servings a day, 3.5 oz weighed before cooking (raw). Instead of meats, you may eat cottage cheese ½ cup, 1 egg, 2 egg whites, yogurt ¾ cup plain unsweetened (you may use Stevia to sweeten),
- Fruit: 2 servings a day such as 1 apple, ½ grapefruit, 1 orange, a cup of strawberries.
- Vegetables: 2 servings a day, 1 cup each. Or, 2 cups bagged “salad mix” greens.
- Carbohydrates: 2 servings a day. A serving includes: 1 slice Melba toast, 2 stone ground wheat thins.
- Unlimited: Coffee (no cream) or tea (can use Stevia to sweeten), seasonings, spices, but limit salt. No sugar. Stevia is acceptable.
- Water: At least 64 ounces (eight, 8 oz glasses a day), or more.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements.
What’s Wrong with the HCG Diet?
Many medical specialists argue that the HCG diet is not safe and has many possible side effects. Here’s why:
- Doesn’t re-train eating habits. Anyone can lose weight on a severely restricted calorie diet. It’s important to learn better food choices and portion control.
- Metabolism crash. Very low calorie diets slow down your metabolism significantly. When you go off the diet and start eating more food, you could easily regain weight because your body’s “burn” level is now geared to a much lower intake of fuel.
- Low critical nutrients. There is very little protein that your body uses to repair itself. Your body winds up “borrowing” protein from your muscles – including your heart. Your weight loss could be more muscle weight than fat loss. Low critical minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium) that govern your heart rhythms could cause problems.
- Possible side effects. Gallstones, very loose skin, especially if you are more than 30-40 lbs overweight, falling hair, can occur from rapid weight loss and too-low protein. Low blood sugar from too low carbohydrates can result in dizziness, fainting, irritability.
There are safer and more comfortable ways to lose a lot amount of weight within a shorter period of time. I’ll let you be the judge. However, if you really want to follow an HCG diet, I recommend you consult a medical doctor trained in its use so that he/she can regularly monitor your progress and any health safety issues that might arise.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Pros and Cons of the HCG Diet, http://www.livestrong.com/article/326628-pros-cons-of-an-hcg-diet/
Dr. Simeons Original HCG Diet Plan, http://www.originalhcgdiet.net/dr-simeons-original-hcg-diet-plan/
How To Do The HCG Diet, http://hcgdietinfo.com/Diet-HCG.htm