What is the HCG Diet?
You may have heard about the amazing results many people are getting with the HCG diet. The HCG diet is the daily use of a medication called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) in conjunction with a very low calorie diet (500 calories). The claim is that you can lose 1-2 pounds of fat per day with this diet…That’s more than 40 lbs of fat loss over the course of the 3-6 week diet plan! I know what you’re thinking…Sign me up, right? If you are considering the use of the HCG diet for weight loss, please read the rest of this page so that you have all of the facts before making your decision.
The Origin of the HCG Diet
A British endocrinologist, Dr. Simeon, discovered the HCG diet in the 1950’s. He observed that pregnant women in third world countries lost fat very quickly while maintaining their lean muscle after delivery. He believed the fat loss and maintenance of muscle was due to HCG (a hormone produced in large amounts during their pregnancy) in conjunction with their very low calorie diet. Dr. Simeon performed a study on the effects of the HCG diet on overweight boys with pituitary disorders and reported that these boys lost fat at a very rapid rate while still maintaining muscle mass.
The Theory Behind the HCG Diet
You might be saying to yourself, “Well, anyone that ate 500 calories per day would lose a lot of weight. What’s the point of using the HCG medication with the diet?”
Below are the claims that have been made by the HCG proponents about the benefits of the use of HCG during a very low calorie diet compared to a very low calorie diet without the use of HCG:
1. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) directly promotes the use of stored fat for energy. This results in accelerated fat loss and maintenance of lean muscle tissue. This also results in good energy levels and good mood; neither of which are present in dieters who don’t use HCG during a very low calorie diet.
Proponents say that during a very low calorie diet without HCG, the body will be in a catabolic (breakdown) state and there will be significant muscle mass (and strength) loss along with far less fat loss. They also believe that the dieter will also have very low energy levels and will be more moody and irritable without the use of HCG.
2. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) increases metabolic rate above normal, accelerating fat loss and burning up to 3,500-4,000 calories per day of fat. The fat is burned off of the body in an even distribution including those “hard to lose areas” such as the stomach, buttocks, hips and thighs.
Proponents claim that when one is on a calorie restricted starvation diet without HCG, there is often some weight loss for the first 1-2 weeks, some of which is muscle and water. As a survival defense mechanism, the metabolism of the body slows down when it “senses” that it is in starvation. There is then minimal to no weight loss after 1-2 weeks once the metabolism has slowed down.
3. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) “resets the metabolism” so that the HCG dieter’s metabolism remains elevated even when the HCG diet is completed. A faster metabolism results in an increase in the use of calories and fat loss at a faster pace. This will enable the dieter to maintain the weight lost with the HCG diet while helping the dieter continue with their weight loss success on a healthy 1,200-calorie nutrition plan along with regular exercise.
4. HCG prevents hunger during the very low calorie starvation diet which makes it easier to follow the HCG diet.
Is it Hype or a Miracle Diet?
Due to the dramatic fat loss that many people on the HCG diet have experienced, it has become extremely popular and an increasing number of people are using this diet to shed off fat in record times. The HCG diet has become such a popular diet for rapid weight loss that it has recently become the topic of discussion on national television programs such as “20/20” and “The Dr. Oz Show”.
HYPE According to the FDA
When considering the use of the HCG diet for weight loss, one should understand and appreciate that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the government agency that regulates and approves the use of medications, does not approve HCG for weight loss. The FDA firmly states that HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) HAS NOT BEEN demonstrated:
1. To be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity.
2. To increase weight loss beyond that resulting from calorie restriction.
3. To cause a more attractive or “normal” distribution of fat.
4. To decrease the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie restricted diets.
With the popularity of the diet came the sales of “homeopathic, natural HCG” and other forms of over the counter “alternative HCG” which claimed to have the same effects of the prescription form of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG). The fact that some people who have lost the 30-40 lbs of fat using the very low calorie diet with these “alternatives to HCG” makes you wonder if the HCG is really doing anything or if the weight loss is just due to eating a calorie restricted diet as the FDA states. The sales of the over the counter HCG diet products continued to grow until December 6, 2011, when the FDA prohibited the sale of “homeopathic” and over the counter HCG diet products and declared them fraudulent and illegal.
HYPE According to Most Doctors and the Medical Community
Many doctors and medical societies agree with the FDA’s position that HCG is neither safe nor effective as a weight-loss aid. Side effects of HCG may include: Increased risk of blood clots, increased ovarian cysts, headaches, gynecomastia, irritability, restlessness, fatigue, and depression. Numerous medical studies have shown that the fat loss results or hunger ratings with a very low calorie diet are not much different with or without the use of the HCG medication. An article which reviewed all of the medical studies that supported HCG for weight loss stated that these studies were not designed in a way that would produce accurate results and concluded that “there is no scientific evidence that HCG is effective in the treatment of obesity; it does not bring about weight-loss or fat-redistribution, nor does it reduce hunger or induce a feeling of well-being”. According to the studies to date, the FDA and the medical community, the weight loss of patients on the “HCG diet” is solely due to the very low calorie starvation diet of 500 calorie per day.
Miracle Diet According to HCG Dieters
This seems like an “open-closed case”, right? The leading physicians and their societies along with the federal agencies all say that HCG does not help with weight loss and that it can potentially cause side effects. Why does the controversy continue? The reason that the HCG diet has not “gone away” is because hundreds of thousands of people have used the HCG diet with great fat loss success and these HCG dieters agree with many of the claims of the HCG diet. Below is some feedback from some of our patients who have used the HCG diet:
“I couldn’t believe how the fat melted off! I lost fat in areas where I could never lose fat and I lost twice as much fat in half the time! The HCG diet works!”
“I was surprised that my energy levels were so good. I actually had more energy on the HCG diet than I did before I started it. I was also surprised that I wasn’t hungry during most of the six weeks. I lost 60 lbs in 42 days and have kept most of it off in the last 6 months.”
“Nothing works as fast and as good as this diet. I tried all kinds of diets to lose the weight. Some diets worked, but I gained the weight back. With the HCG diet, I lost 35 and have been able to keep it off for over a year.”
“This diet is amazing! I lost 28 lbs in 19 days! I can see my abs now and I’m not even working out.
It’s almost too good to be true!”
Do What’s Right for You!
There are some medical doctors, including Genemedics Health Institute medical doctors, who believe that the HCG diet is an effective plan for rapid fat loss and that the benefits of the diet outweigh the risks. The rapid weight loss is followed by a healthy nutrition plan, exercise program and supplement regimen for continued weight loss success. If you are interested in learning more about the HCG diet, please feel free to contact our office.