Why the HCG Diet is Bad for You

Why the HCG Diet is Bad for YouYou probably have heard an advertisement recently about a weight loss program revolutionized to target your fat cells to help you lose weight and keep it off.  Sounds like a pretty good deal considering about 70 percent of the United states over the age of 20 years is considered overweight or obese [1].  But when you break down the HCG diet further and listen to the advertisements a little closer, you may find that what they are stating is a bunch of repeated nonsense.

HCG is for Fertility and is not for Weight Loss

HCG is marketed to be a revolutionized hormone designed for weight loss, but anyone who has ever taken basic anatomy and physiology understands that HCG is a hormone the body naturally produces called human chorionic gonadotropin, or the hormone that is present in newly pregnant women.  In addition, HCG has been used in clinical settings as a hormone to induce ovulation in women and testosterone in men, but more commonly it is used to induce ovulation in women.

Why you Should Avoid the HCG Diet

So what is the HCG diet and what are the weight loss claims?  For some, this hormone is used to “reset” your metabolism so that your body loses weight naturally without feeling tired or starving.  While this is something many wish they had from typical diets, there is little truth and in fact, the FDA has warned against its use.  The FDA has stated that HCG is a prescription medication for fertility and any product sold over-the-counter, as in the HCG diet’s case, is breaking the law.  In addition, any organization claiming that HCG is homeopathic is wrong.  In order to be considered homeopathic therapy, the drug needs to be listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia and HCG is not listed.

The HCG diet is very restrictive in what you can eat.  In fact, the HCG diet recommends eating very little, around 500 calories per day or about one fourth of the typical daily requirements.  Given such a small caloric load, there is virtually no possible way for your body to have sufficient energy to sustain movements, life, and the bare essentials we come to take for granted.  A typical basal metabolism, or the metabolism which is needed to sustain life, is over 1,000 calories, so if you are thinking a 500 calorie diet is for you, think again.

Starvation is Not Human

In addition to not being able to sustain life, a severe caloric restriction with an intake of about 500 calories daily means that your body will soon compensate.  Those five pounds you lost over the first two days were great, but soon your body will adapt and will stop functioning at tip-top shape and you soon will stop losing weight.  Your body has a metabolic set-point in which you sustain daily activities, life, and the bare essentials (like breathing) and this is known as your resting metabolism.  This resting metabolism, when not sufficiently fed, will adjust appropriately and in times of starvation, it will drop in order to provide sufficient energy to continue with the day’s activities.  Without proper energy going into your body, you will dwindle, lose muscle mass, and will be left only with skin and bones, literally.  Your body will not have the energy to exercise and there is a reason your primary care physician recommends diet and exercise for modest weight loss.

HCG Diet Does Not Promote Exercise

The truth of the matter is a quick fix like the HCG diet will not get you results.  While there may initially be some weight loss, the damage your body sustains over this time is non-reversible.  In addition, the diet does not promote healthy dietary habits and has no site of exercise in its recommendations.  Current recommendations include modest weight loss of about one to two pounds per week and sustaining important muscle mass during this weight loss; you are training your body to feel good and to flourish.  One aspect in weight loss that many do not know is that your body’s metabolism is dependent on a number of chemical reactions and enzymes.  These reactions and enzymes require energy in order to continue.  Without energy, your body will literally shut down, leaving you feeling not quite like yourself.

Get the Correct Information

If you are looking to lose weight and are curious about HCG, consult with your physician prior to making a decision.  In addition, if weight loss is your goal, your personal trainer or exercise physiologist can help you get to the goals you desire.



[1] http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/obesity-overweight.htm

[2] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/hcg-diet/faq-20058164

About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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