By Amy Sanders
HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone produced during pregnancy. Typically HCG is prescribed for fertility issues but recently it has made resurgence on the internet as a weight loss wonder drug. HCG is not approved by the FDA for over the counter usage and has not been proven to work for weight loss. Still, proponents of the drug maintain that it is possible for one to loose 3-5 pounds per week.
How is this possible?
The diet works by restricting caloric intake to 500 calories per day while ingesting hCG drops or undergoing hCG injections. It is worth noting that not only is 500 calories the equivalent of a turkey sandwich with Swiss and mayo, but also that the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that calorie levels never drop below 1200 calories per day. Promoters of the hCG diet claim that the hormone prevents feelings of hunger, however followers of such an extremely low calorie diet are in fact starving themselves. Importantly, followers of the diet report rapid weight gain following cessation often gaining back more weight than initially lost. Dieters commonly reported side effects such as headaches, fatigue, hair loss, constipation, and heart arrhythmias. These side effects are the same as those associated with starvation and at upwards of $500 a cycle, your wallet is losing weight too!
Fact is, the idea of using hCG to curb appetite was introduced over fifty years ago and has been studied in over a dozen trials. Every single trial showed that the hCG injections were no better than injecting a salt-water placebo and it is believed that the power of suggestion is a key factor. This is essentially an expensive crash diet. If weight loss is your goal, then do it safely. Talk with your doctor or other health care provider about how to make healthy changes that lead to permanent weight loss, such as eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.