Recently, the HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) diet has received a lot of publicity including the Dr. Oz show. The HCG diet has been around since the 1950s. The diet is given good reviews by its enthusiasts for suppressing hunger, and also for burning fat while sparing muscle. There are several forms of the HCG diet, but the two major forms include HCG injections and HCG drops under the tongue. Critics of the diet point out that the weight loss is not due to the HCG, but rather the 500 calories that are ingested per day. This sounds like another starvation diet to me. As a comparison, the usual caloric intake is about 2000 calories per day.
With the injectable HCG, the participant is given an injection every day. You need to consult a physician for this form of HCG as you need a prescription for the injectable HCG and for the needles and syringes. The dose of the HCG will be determined by your weight loss physician. Usually, the total amount of HCG given on a daily basis is 125 I.U. I.U. is a form of measurement for the amount of a substance (in this case HCG) and this varies depending on the substance being measured.
You can buy the HCG drops to be placed under the tongue from the internet, but it is important to know that buying or selling HCG weight loss products in the US is illegal. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) instituted the ban after determining that HCG weight loss products have not been proven to work. The advantage of using this form of the HCG from the internet is not having to pay a physician for a consultation and prescription. The participant is advised to use 36 to 45 drops per day. A total daily dose of 1.5cc of HCG will be used with this regimen.
One of the confusing issues in this diet is that a method for converting I.U. measurements into drops does not exist so that the amount of HCG administered by injection is probably different than the amount of HCG given in drops.
As I mentioned previously, there are several forms of the HCG diet. One of the most common regimens will be discussed here although all the variations have the same principle of using HCG and restricting caloric intake.
Phase 1 involves carbohydrate loading for two days. You can eat all you want and as often as you want. The rationale is you are storing fat to help you through the diet.
Phase 2 involves following a 500 calorie daily diet for two weeks. It is during this time that you will drop your weight. Remember, however, that the more you restrict your calories, the more your body will want to conserve the calories. This will result in a dramatic initial weight loss for the first few days, but the weight loss will be at a slower rate the longer you are on the diet.
Phase 3 involves eating 1200 calories per day to maintain the new weight. Working out is not recommended while on the HCG diet.
Part of the reason for not recommending exercise may be the extreme fatigue that you experience while on the diet. Moodiness has a tendency to follow the fatigue. These are the minor side effects that accompany the diet.
More serious side effects that can occur include swelling of the legs (edema), blood clots (thromboembolism), and gynecomastia (enlarged breasts in males). Electrolyte imbalances (abnormal levels of sodium, potassium, calcium among others), and irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) are also possibilities.
More than one person who has followed this diet has expressed disappointment with the final results of the diet. If the participant manages to continue with the diet for the recommended time, they will lose weight but they will start to gain weight again once the diet is over.
HCG is normally produced by pregnant women, and is one of the hormones believed to cause the nausea and emesis of pregnancy (hyperemesis gravidarum). HCG injections are also used to induce ovulation in infertility patients. Again, the extreme caloric restriction is the reason why this diet works.
Like I have discussed in other posts, a diet that cannot be followed for any length of time is doomed to failure. The HCG diet is one of these diets. And also remember that the effectiveness of this diet has been questioned by the FDA to say nothing of the legality of using the product.
The time proven method to lose and maintain weight remains eating wisely and exercising. Wishing you continued success with your weight loss and management. Pablo