The HCG Diet was first popularized in 1971 by A. T. W. Simeons MD, in his book” Pounds & Inches: A New Approach to Obesity.” The HCG uses doses of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Hormone to bring about weight loss. This hormone is present in the urine of pregnant women, since it’s essential for fetal development, and it helps keep the mother’s immune system from rejecting the fetus. The HCG Diet was once limited to customers of spas and health resorts, but it’s now available for use in the home; here are some of the pros and cons of this diet.
1) Pro: Rapid Weight Loss
The HCG Diet has been known to effect rapid, drastic weight loss. However, researchers believe that the HCG hormone itself is ineffective for helping healthy adults lose weight. Doctors and scientists don’t understand how this hormone works in the healthy adult body, and they don’t know what unpleasant side effects could result from using it for weight loss. Experts believe that the rapid weight loss that can occur on the HCG Diet is the result of the diet’s extreme calorie restriction, not the use of HCG hormones.
Furthermore, rapid weight loss can be dangerous. Losing weight rapidly increases your chances of rebound weight gain after you go off the diet. Losing weight quickly and then putting it back on again quickly puts you at risk of heart failure, since large fluctuations in body weight can put your heart under stress.
2) Con: Lifestyle Changes
The HCG Diet doesn’t encourage dieters to begin a program of regular, moderate exercise. It actually discourages dieters from exercising. Nor does it help dieters learn to make appropriate food choices and eat a healthy diet.
3) Con: Extreme Calorie Restriction
The HCG Diet restricts calorie intake to about 500 calories a day. The minimum safe calorie intake for a healthy adult is about 1300 calories per day. Eating so few calories can lead to feelings of weakness, dizziness, fatigue and hunger. You’ll experience food cravings and feelings of deprivation. You may even experience nutritional deficiencies on this diet.
4) Con: Not FDA Approved
HCG has not been approved for use as a dietary supplement by the FDA. It’s often used in conjunction with steroid drugs, and is on the list of illegal sports drugs that can disqualify athletes from performing. HCG’s side effects include blood clots, restlessness, headaches and depression. Doctors don’t fully understand what side effects might occur with HCG use, especially long-term HCG use, and they don’t understand what role it plays in the adult human body or what effects it might have on adult human health.
5) Con: Hide Developing Cancers
Some cancers tumors secrete HCG, and doctors tests for blood levels of HCG when checking for some kinds of cancers, such as testicular cancer. If you’re using HCG and you develop a cancerous tumor, your doctor may not be able to diagnose the tumor early enough to make treatment effective, since your HCG injections will be masking the presence of cancer-secreted HCG in your blood.