One of the latest weight loss program/diets out there today is the hCG diet.
hCG is stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone which exists naturally in both men and women, but is produced in great amounts by women during pregnancy. Injecting or ingesting amounts of hCG, paired with a very low-calorie diet (VLCD), allegedly results in “a loss of 1 to 2 lbs a day. At the very least, .5 pound a day, and at the most, 3 + lbs a day.” (From HCG Diet Information)
People lose weight doing this diet. There is no evidence that says that actually taking the hCG with the VLCD diet actually makes you lose more weight than just being on a VLCD. There seems to be a very extensive placebo effect being marketed. The claims in regards to hCG is that it resets your metabolism, decreases your appetite, and targets hard-to-reach fat. There is no clinical proof that any of these things are true. In the 1960s hCG was the most prescribed drugs on market. When it was stated by the FDA that, “HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets,” it lost all momentum and its use died out as a means of weight loss.
There are several problems with this diet. First of all, anytime you introduce hormone therapy with foreign amounts of a certain substance, you are affecting the delicate balance of your body. For men or non-pregnant women – neither of which are nurturing a growing baby – the added levels of hCG could be harmful. hCG is a marker for cancer and turns off the immune system in the fight against cancer. Two cancers have been identified to coincide with raised hCG levels – ovarian and testicular.
Secondly, the VLCD recommends a 500-calorie diet (that’s per day). Anyone who only eats 500 calories per day is going to lose weight; by lowering your intake and keeping your output static, you’ll burn more calories than you consume. The hCG diet even recommends not exercising – masking it as “You don’t even have to exercise!” – knowing that fatigue, fainting, or exhaustion could result from such a low-calorie diet.
Lastly, there are negative side effects of being on a VLCD – one being the loss of essential proteins that protect vital organs.
But even putting aside the potential dangers of adding unnecessary hormones to your system or starving yourself for weeks, there are no proven long-term benefits.
We tend to have a conservative approach to health and fitness. From our findings we would recommend waiting to use hCG and VLCD until further evidence comes out in regards to it effectiveness. We don’t feel like you are going to miss out on achieving the body of your dreams or losing that extra weight. If hCG is really the miracle pill, you will have more evidence in the future of its effectiveness and know more about its side effects. We also have major concerns according to the research in regards to the increase risk of cancer.