For months now dieters across the country have been raving about the HCG Diet. What is it? Does it really work? Most of all, what are the risks? Is the HCG diet harmful to your health?
HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. This is a hormone naturally produced by the placenta in pregnant women and almost completely controls the metabolic function through the hypothalamus throughout the pregnancy. The HCG diet combines extreme calorie restriction along with this hormone. HCG is prescribed by a doctor as a daily injection. Although, some dieters have also taken HCG as drops ingested three times a day. HCG drops only contain traces of the hormone and are not approved by the FDA.
HCG dieters have reported losing 1-2 lbs a day. Why are they losing so much weight? This diet requires that you eat only 500 calories a day. If you are not eating then of course you are going to lose weight. However, research has shown that these type of “crash diets” result in weight gain once the diet ends.
In order to stay healthy we need to fuel our bodies with enough vitamins and nutrients. Starving yourself is not good and scientists have proven this as well. The Centers for Disease Control has investigated over a dozen deaths linked to low calorie diets since the 1970’s.
Other health risks from the HCG diet include, increased risks of blood clots, headaches, depression, missed periods, water retention, swelling and nausea.
Research on this diet concluded that the HCG hormone does not improve weight loss. In a recent study some patients were given the HCG hormone and others were given a placebo. The weight loss was the same for both groups.
The HCG diet is just another one of those fad crash diets. It may not work for you and should only be used under the direction of a physician for the severely obese. If you are thinking about going on this diet do your homework first and discuss it with your doctor. Don’t fall for every fad diet out there. You might be disappointed in the end.