What is the HCG Diet?
By WLR's Site Manager, Laurence Beeken
The hCG diet is a restriction diet based on 500 calories a day, supplemented with either a daily injection of hCG hormone or with oral hCG drops. We look at the facts behind this extreme Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD).
Every once in a while, a new diet sweeps across the world, promising easy and rapid weight loss in return for very little effort. The hCG diet plan for weight loss is such a diet. First seen in the 1950’s, hCG diets had a resurgence in the 70’s and are back again. Popular in the US, and gaining in popularity in the UK, we answer the burning question, “what is the hCG Diet?”
What is HCG?
HCG is an abbreviation of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, and you get the picture almost immediately – it’s a hormone found in the human body. Found in the urine during pregnancy, the hCG hormone is also produced by the pituitary gland as well as certain tumours.
How Does the HCG Hormone Work?
HCG triggers the body to mobilise fat stores to bring energy to the growing baby, and this is where the supposed weight loss claims are founded. HCG is also gonadotropic, meaning that it prompts genital development. As such, hCG is normally used as a fertility treatment.
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By using the tools and resources available from Weight Loss Resources, you’ll learn about portion control and how to change your eating habits for life. We’ll give you the freedom to make you own choices, lose weight and keep it off. Take our free trial and see how you can lose weight and control your own meals without putting manufactured drugs into your body.
How Does the HCG Diet Work?
The idea behind hCG diets in general is that the hormone allows your body to access fat stores more quickly than normal. Instead of losing bone and muscle mass you start losing body fat right away.
When following the hCG diet plan, the theory is that the low calorie intake allows you to start losing weight, while the hCG injections or hCG drops reduce your appetite and make sure you’re burning fat rather than muscle.
Although all of this sounds plausible, there is no scientific proof that hCG supplementation works; in 1995 the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published a report which showed no relationship between hCG and weight loss.
What Does the HCG Diet Cost?
There are many hCG diets springing up all over the www as this fad diet continues to gain popularity.
The cost of the hCG diet is significant for those that go to surgeries for their injections and consultations; £1150 for 30 days supply is not uncommon.
Pros of the HCG Diet
If you are selling the hCG drops, then you will probably make money, that’s the only thing that can be said for it.
The Cons of the HCG Diet
- Exercise is not promoted as part of overall health.
- Calorie restriction is way below what is deemed safe by the majority of the medical profession without medical supervision.
- Side effects of the long term use of hCG are not understood.
- Some cancers could not be caught early as hCG injections may mask certain indicators.
- Lifestyle changes aren’t stressed.
- Falls under the quick fix mentality.
- Health concerns as follows:
What Are the Major Health Concerns?
- Infection of the injection site
- Reduction in the natural levels of the hormone in your body
- Fertility problems
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Bad breath
- Kidney/gall stones
- Lethargy and exhaustion
- Unwanted hair growth
- Prostate problems in men
- Ovarian hyperstimulation and excessive ovulation in women
- Male breast enlargement
- Irritability and mood swings
- Blood clots
- And weight GAIN!
How Much Weight Could I Lose on the HCG Diet?
Most independent studies of the hCG diet have shown no difference in weight loss between subjects on a low-calorie diet who received hCG injections, and subjects who received a placebo. One study even showed that both the placebo group and the hCG group reported hunger pangs throughout the treatment.
Many of the internet sites promoting the diet issue dire warnings if you stray from the hCG diet plan. In reality though if you ate just 500 calories a day for 43 days you would lose weight, hCG or no hCG.
Is HCG Legal? Where Can I Get HCG?
In the UK, while it is legal to prescribe hCG for fertility treatment, it is illegal to supply the injectable hormone without a prescription. HCG is not licensed as a weight loss treatment.
There is no regulation for the websites that sell the hCG drops, so they can contain anything (or nothing). The injectable hCG hormone has been added to a list of ‘banned substances’ as it has become popular with bodybuilders at the end of a steroid cycle (taken in conjunction with another drug to stop fat gain caused by hCG).
What is the HCG Diet Promise?
HCG and weight loss diets claim that you could lose 43 lbs in 43 days by following a few simple rules:
- 500 calories a day
- No heavy exercise
- Daily hCG dose (non prescription drops or prescription injections)
As dangerous diet crazes go, this has got to be one of the worst offenders. Who would want to inject a waste product into themselves?
Weight loss is going to be from the VLCD which is verging on starvation, not the hormone. The only thing guaranteed is a reducing bank balance.
When following a VLCD you should be under the supervision of a medically qualified professional. It is a concern that when following this diet, especially if using the hCG injections, you will not be regularly monitored to address any health issues that may crop up.
Regardless of results, once you stop the hCG diet, you will have to adopt a normal and healthy lifestyle, or the weight's just going to return. Supporters of the hCG diet maintain that the purpose of the diet is to break food addictions and abnormal eating behaviors, and that the month or so of treatment allows a person to do so. In this sense, the diet hopes to achieve short-term weight loss with long-term behavioral modification.
How Does Weight Loss Resources Differ from the hCG Diet?
Many diets fail because they are too difficult to live with. Because the hCG Diet restricts certain foods it could leave you feeling deprived - which often leads to rebellion and overeating. Weight Loss Resources is not a diet, but rather a set of tools to enable you to make gradual changes to your eating habits. Having real awareness about the things you eat and drink each day enables you to start losing weight by making relatively small changes that suit your tastes and your lifestyle.
Successful weight loss is all about getting the balance right and adopting a healthy lifestyle. With WLR you don’t go on a diet, you learn about healthy eating with the aid of our tools and resources.