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Does The HCG Diet Really Help You Lose Weight?

Does The HCG Diet Really Help You Lose Weight?

Millions of people all over the world have been struggling with weight loss for decades. In the Philippines, adult obesity had risen very quickly since the mid-1990s. Just this month, the World Obesity Foundation gave the country a national obesity score of 6/10, which translates to moderate risk. Many fad diets were developed in order to aid weight loss: so-called quick-and-easy techniques, taking supplements, even surgical procedures such as liposuction. If you’re one of those people who have tried everything, you might have heard of the hCG diet. But before you go off and try this, let’s find out what this supposed method entails, whether it’s safe, and if it works.

What is hCG?

Cells created in the placenta produces the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is a pregnancy hormone. It helps nourish a fertilized egg that has attached to the wall of the uterus. A blood or urine test is a very easy and inexpensive way to detect this. During pregnancy, hCg levels will continuously increase and will peak in the first 8 to 11 weeks. So, the question begs to be asked: Why is a pregnancy-related hormone being used as a substance for weight loss?

What is the hCG diet?

This method was first proposed by Dr. Albert Simeons in 1954 as an adjunct to a “very low calorie diet.” How low? Patients have to stick to a fat-free diet of 500 kilocalories (kcal) each day for 3.5 to 6 weeks. Simultaneously, the patient will get 125 units of hCG by injection each day. Simeons formed this diet based on his experience using the hormone to treat young boys afflicted with Frohlich’s syndrome. This refers to a set of endocrine abnormalities thought to result from damage to the hypothalamus. Signs and symptoms of the disease include excessive eating that leads to obesity, small testes, and delay in the start of puberty.

The hCG diet allows only two meals per day, consisting of one item from each food group: protein, vegetables, bread, and fruit. Its proponents claim that patients will lose weight rapidly, not feel hungry or weak. A study says that a low-carb, high-protein diet contributes to the lack of hunger. Supporters also claim that the Simeons therapy will help you lose fat around the stomach, hips, thighs, and upper arms.

Important note: A study that examined this method noted that it wasn’t built on any solid scientific basis. The researchers deduced that there was no real proof to support the use of the hormone for weight loss.

So why do people lose weight with the hCG diet?

Authorities on the matter say that it is actually the diet that accompanies hCG injections that causes weight loss. These ‘very low calorie diets’ (VLCD) are defined as having 400 to 800 kcal a day.

In the 1970s, when the diet was very popular, collagen was used as a source of protein. As a result, a number of people died partly due to starvation. The low biological value protein and electrolyte imbalance contributed to their deaths. People who want to undergo VLCDs should only do so under the advice and supervision of their doctors. They also work best on people who have a considerable amount of weight to lose.

How can I lose weight safely?

Experts suggest six ways by which you can lose weight safely and effectively:

Make sure you are ready to commit to your weight loss journey

Weight loss entails many changes from eating and exercise habits to your mindset. Take time to ensure you’re ready to break old habits and form new ones.

Find your motivation

As you go through your weight loss journey, make a list of the reasons why you’re doing this. A support system would also be helpful to keep you on track.

Set realistic goals

Generally, aiming to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week is doable. Figure out what you need to do to reach these goals. Once you’ve achieved your initial goals, then you can aim higher.

Eat healthier food

Losing weight includes changing your food choices and eating habits. Lowering your calorie intake doesn’t necessarily mean having to give up tasty food. Eat more plant-based food such as fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. Consult a dietician or your doctor for a meal plan tailored to your goals.

Be active

Exercise is important in helping you burn calories that won’t go away through just dieting. This also has enormous health benefits: boosts mood, strengthens the heart and reduces blood pressure.

Change your outlook

Weight loss is not a one-time thing. Once you’ve lost weight, you must be able to maintain it. A change in lifestyle and outlook is necessary so your efforts won’t go to waste.

Key Takeaway

Despite its supporters claiming that it’s highly effective, the low-calorie intake of the hCG diet stretched over long periods of time may have harmful effects to your body. Before trying any diet, it’s important to do your research and consult a health professional regarding its safety. Your doctor may recommend other ways for you to achieve your target goal while still keeping healthy.

Learn more about Diet and Weightloss here.

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Sources

What is HCG?, https://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/hcg-levels/. Accessed 20 Mar 2022

The effect of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity by means of the Simeons therapy: a criteria-based meta-analysis, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1365103/pdf/brjclinpharm00004-0042.pdf. Accessed 20 Mar 2022

Why You Should Avoid Using HCG for Weight Loss, https://www.jcmg.org/why-you-should-avoid-using-hcg-for-weight-loss/. Accessed 20 Mar 2022

Use of VLCDs in the Treatment of Obesity, https://www.jcmg.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Obesity-Very-Low-Calorie-Diet.pdf. Accessed 20 Mar 2022

Effects of a high-protein ketogenic diet on hunger, appetite, and weight loss in obese men feeding ad libitum, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/87.1.44. Accessed 20 Mar 2022

Weight loss: 6 strategies for success, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/art-20047752. Accessed 20 Mar 2022

The Philippines is getting fat: Obesity rates increase as poor nutrition persists, https://www.bworldonline.com/the-philippines-is-getting-fat-obesity-rates-increase-as-poor-nutrition-persists/. Accessed 20 Mar 2022

Froelich Syndrome, https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/froelichs-syndrome/. Accessed 20 Mar 2022

Use of HCG in the Treatment of Obesity, http://www.clinicalnutritioncenter.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/hcg-weight-loss.pdf. Accessed 20 Mar 2022

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Written by China Logarta Updated Apr 07
Fact Checked by Kristel Lagorza