You may have heard of HCG diet or not. But if you have ever heard of it, then you need to know this unexpected truth about the diet for your own safety.
Who knows, it may be on your next plan to kick off with the diet. You have to really know this about HCG before you can continue with your plan.
This post is just posed to take an objective look at the science behind the HCG diet.
Meanwhile, let’s look at the meaning of this HCG diet. If you already know what it’s all about, do permit me to pass the knowledge to those that are just reading about it for the first time.
Can we start with the definition?
Of course we can’t start without the definition…and the definition is thus below;
Definition of HCG
HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone present at high levels in early pregnancy. In fact, this hormone is used as a marker in home pregnancy tests. HCG has also been used to treat fertility issues in both men and women. However, elevated blood levels of HCG may also be a symptom of several types of cancer, including placental, ovarian and testicular cancer.
A British doctor named Albert Simeons first proposed HCG as a weight loss tool in 1954.
What actually does HCG do in the body?
HCG is a protein-based hormone produced during pregnancy. What HCG basically does is telling a woman’s body that it’s pregnant.
HCG helps maintain the production of important hormones like progesterone and estrogen, which are essential for the development of the embryo and fetus.
After the first three months of pregnancy, blood levels of HCG decrease.
Does HCG help in weight loss?
Proponents of the HCG diet claim that it boosts metabolism and helps you lose large amounts of fat, all without feeling hungry. Various theories attempt to explain the mechanism behind HCG and weight loss. However, multiple studies have concluded that weight loss achieved by the HCG diet is due to the ultra low-calorie diet alone and has absolutely nothing to do with the HCG hormone.
Furthermore, they found that the HCG hormone did not significantly reduce hunger.
One common side effect of weight loss is decreased muscle. This is especially common on diets that severely restrict caloric intake, such as the HCG diet. The body may also think it’s starving and reduce the amount of calories it burns in order to conserve energy.
Also, proponents of the HCG diet claim that it facilitates weight loss resulting from fat loss only, not muscle loss.
They claim that HCG also elevates other hormones, boosts metabolism and leads to a growth-promoting (anabolism) state.
It is worthy of note, that there are no scientific studies available to back up these claims.
How the HCG diet is prescribed
The HCG diet is a very low-fat, very low-calorie diet.
It is generally divided into three phases:
- Loading phase: Start taking HCG and eat plenty of high-fat, high-calorie foods for 2 days.
- Weight loss phase: Continue taking HCG and eat only 500 calories per day for 3 to 6 weeks.
- Maintenance phase: Stop taking HCG. Gradually increase food intake but avoid sugar and starch for 3 weeks.
For people who have less weight to lose, 3 weeks is recommended for the weight loss phase. On the contrary, those who need to lose a lot of weight may be advised to follow the diet for 6 weeks and even repeat the cycle (all phases) several times.
As for the weight loss phase, you’re only allowed to eat two meals per day, usually lunch and dinner.
HCG meal plans generally suggest that each meal should contain one portion of lean protein, a vegetable, a piece of bread and a fruit. You may also get a list of “approved” foods to select from in specific amounts.
Butter, oils and sugar should be avoided, but you’re encouraged to drink lots of water. Mineral water, coffee and tea are allowed as well.
Most HCG products on the market are scams
Most of the HCG products on the market today are actually “homeopathic.”What this really means, is that there is literally no HCG in them.
Real HCG, in the form of injections, is approved as a fertility drug. It is only available through a doctor’s prescription.
Only these injections are able to raise blood levels of the hormone, not these “homeopathic” products sold online.
Safety and side effects
HCG has not been approved as a weight loss drug by agencies like the FDA. On the contrary, they have questioned the safety of HCG products, as the ingredients are unregulated and unknown.
There are also a number of side effects associated with the HCG diet, such as:
These may be largely due to the starvation-level calorie intake, which is pretty much guaranteed to make a lot of people feel miserable.
The Diet may work, but it’s only because you’re cutting calories drastically
The HCG diet limits caloric intake to around 500 calories per day for weeks at a time, making it an extremely 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.
If you’re serious about losing weight and keeping it off, then there are plenty of effective methods that are much more sensible than the HCG diet.
For more science-based tips on weight loss, check out this post: 25 Easy Ways to Lose Weight Naturally (Backed by Science).
Have any questions about HCG Diets, Weight loss or on the post above. Do connect with me through the comment box.