The HCG diet has grown in popularity since its inception in the 1950s as a quick and easy weight loss program; however, the FDA has deemed the HCG diet to be potentially dangerous to the health of those participating in it. Because of this and personal preferences, few reputable health and dieting organizations offer or approve the HCG diet; yet it is still sought as a popular weight loss technique across America.
What is the HCG Diet?
Created in the 1950’s by Dr. ATW Simeons, the HCG diet has been marketed to consumers as an appetite suppressor and carefully controlled diet.
HCG, also known as human chorionic gonadotropin, is a naturally produced hormone found in pregnant women. This hormone is produced by the placenta to control the metabolic rate and function of the mother. HCG is often used in fertility treatments for males and females, pregnancy tests, and now as a method for losing weight.
This diet not only employs injections or pills containing the HCG hormone, but also puts dieters on a 500 calorie-per-day diet to ensure that optimal weight can be lost. The premise of the diet is to allow a high amount of protein into the body while limiting the intake of carbohydrates. This small diet has been said to allow fat redistribution while letting dieters shed pounds per day.
When it Works
Dieters gravitate toward simple diets like the HCG diet, because noticeable results come much faster than they do from diets that require exercise and proper nutrition plans.
"It was very effective and I was attracted to the short time it took to lose the weight," said Joe Serra, a middle-aged man in Novi, Michigan.
Joe has tried several times to lose weight, and HCG worked for him; so naturally, he’s a fan of it. That said, when people do lose weight using this diet, it’s because they are consuming a very low number of calories and not because they are supplementing with HCG. Additionally, although some people see substantial weight loss in a short amount of time, they tend to put the weight back on once they stop the diet.
"When you don’t follow the maintenance phase properly, you will put some weight back on,” Serra said. “I lost 30 lbs on the diet approximately a year ago. I have since put on about 10 lbs."
In the end, dieters tend to enjoy effective long-term weight loss, when they commit to lifestyle changes they can stick to. This includes exercising at least three time per week and eating a variety of nutritious high fiber, low calorie foods.
Although it may take longer to lose weight this way; the results tend to last longer, and dieters don’t have to worry about potential risks associated with HCG supplementation.
Photo: JMallinaltzin. Thanks to Dr. Joseph Serra for contributing to this story. Dr. Serra can be reached at his Detroit office, The Michigan Center for Advanced Dentistry.