Is the HCG Diet an Effective Way to Lose Weight?
Quick weight loss diets have become very famous these days, and one of the most talked about diets today is the HCG diet. I have not personally tried this so I cannot comment if it works or not.
The Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone is found in a pregnant mother’s body during the early stages of pregnancy. It helps the fetus grow in size and fully develop the internal organs. In fact, it is this hormone that home pregnancy test kits use to determine whether a woman is pregnant or not.
According to a 1954 research by endocrinologist Dr. Albert Simeons, the HCG hormone was found to enable weight loss by suppressing appetite and hunger pangs.
What does the HCG diet involve?
The HCG diet involves injecting shots of the HCG hormone into the body in order to lose weight. The hormone injections are coupled with a restrictive 500-calories-a-day diet, which together promises weight loss up to a pound-a-day, plus the benefits of better skin and general wellbeing.
There are three phases to the diet:
• The loading phase, where the dieter starts taking the HCG and eats a high-fat diet for two days.
• The weight loss phase, where the dieter continues ingesting the HCG and eats only a 500-calorie diet of low-fat meals for 3-6 weeks.
• The maintenance stage, where HCG is continued to be taken and the amount of food consumed is slowly increased, but all sugary, starchy, and carbonated foods/drinks are completely eliminated from the diet.
Does the HCG diet really work and is it right for you?
Although some dieters claim actual weight loss, many experts believe the HCG diet is in reality, a scam. This brings its effectiveness into question.
For one, the (extremely expensive) HCG oral drops, injections, and tablets available for the diet don’t contain any HCG hormone at all. According to the FDA, HCG hormone isn’t approved for OTC sales. Many of these so-called HCG supplements are marked “homeopathic” and contain ingredients that mimic the effects of the HCG hormone. This makes them unreliable and unsafe to use.
Second, the HCG diet leads to serious side effects. The low 500-calorie diet focuses on stringent food reduction, and this type of extreme moderation for extended periods of time often leads to malnutrition, irritability, and fatigue.
Apart from this, the HCG supplements have been found leading to electrolyte imbalance, blood clots, gallstone formation, irregularity in the heartbeat, and neural malfunction in users. Excessive hair loss, lowered libido, and constipation are other side effects of the diet. There have also been instances of dieters experiencing the onset or worsening of dangerous medical conditions like fibroids, ovarian cysts and breast and ovarian cancer.
Third, many HCG dieters have experienced instantaneously regaining the weight they had lost once the “weight loss” stage was over. This is the time when you are expected to start eating your normal meals again. Even with the sugar and the starch gone, going beyond the 500-calorie diet has been found to lead to immediate weight gain.
The HCG diet limits calorie intake to around 500 calories per day for weeks at a time, making it an extreme weight loss diet.
Any diet that is this low in calories will make you lose weight.
However, numerous studies have found that the HCG hormone has no effect on weight loss and doesn’t reduce your appetite.
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