How the hCG diet causes rapid weight loss
ANOTHER DAY, another diet and this week we have a diet that dates back to the 1950s and actively uses a hormone produced in pregnancy to promote rapid weight loss.
The only missing thing is sound scientific evidence to show it actually works the way it says it does.
Human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG is one of the hormones produced in pregnancy to support a developing foetus.
It was initially linked to weight control after an association was observed between the presence of hCG and a reduction in hunger and appetite.
Furthermore it was claimed that the added benefit of injecting hCG was that the hormone helped to redistribute fat deposits, mobilising long-term fat stores from the hips, thighs and buttocks to help significantly alter body composition and reset the metabolism.
Fast-forward 50 years and today a number of pharmacists still offer a weight loss program that includes the hCG hormone.
hCG is now commonly administered via an oral solution with dieters taking it daily as drops under the tongue while they simultaneously follow a 500 calorie diet. It is claimed that using this method can help dieters shed as much as 7kg in a three-week period.
In daily food terms, a 500 calorie day includes 2-3 very small meals of a couple of hard boiled eggs, a small piece of fish and a cup of salad or vegetables.
Generally speaking any diet that slashes calories to such an extent will be extremely effective in achieving rapid weight loss, if dieters can adhere to it.
The addition of hCG and its effect remains largely unsubstantiated.
With the exception of glowing testimonials, there is no scientific evidence to show it works to any greater an extent than a regular low calorie diet that is especially low in carbohydrate and induces ketosis.
A study published back in 1995 in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology compared a number of studies which used a low calorie approach versus a low calorie diet which also used hCG, found that hCG was not associated with more significant weight loss, fat redistribution or a reduction in hunger symptoms.
There was also a potential side effect reported, with one published case study linking hCG injections to DVT (deep vein thrombosis).
hCG regimes still sold in pharmacy range in price from roughly $40 for the drops up to $500 for the program which may include consultations with the pharmacist to help detail the very extreme diet which bans most foods for long periods of time.
The regimen also requires followers to use a range of other natural skincare and beauty products generally which do not contain oils other than coconut oil. Naturally you are able to purchase these at the pharmacy you also buy your hCG.
It appears that the main mechanism by which the hCG diet works is by inducing ketosis; a physiological state in which carbohydrate intake is very low (<50g) and fat burning is the default state.
The reality is that you are likely to be able to achieve rapid weight loss via ketosis and get the same results as you would from hCG minus any hormonal drops, if you can stick to such a diet. Strict diets always work, the issue is what do you do after you have barely eaten anything for weeks if not months at a time without regaining at least some of the weight you have lost?
Either way, you can probably achieve this with or without hCG drops.