hCG Diet Review: Myth or Reality?

One of the more recent fad diets to surface, especially on the internet, is the hCG diet. It has all the makings of a classic fad diet: it promises a quick fix to weight loss problems (even for severely overweight individuals), it requires little or no exercise, and it relies on a “magic” substance that promotes hCG weight loss. The diet is based on the use of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone found in the urine of pregnant women. If that doesn’t set off some alarms on your fad diet skepticism meter, you may need to re-examine your ideas of what a healthy diet really is!

About hCG Diet: What it Promises

In many ways, the hCG diet follows many tenets of the common fad diet: it requires dieters to eat a very calorie-restricted diet (usually around 500 calories a day) composed of organic and unprocessed foods. The hCG’s diet’s “magic bullet” is the hCG hormone, which is delivered through a few drops under the tongue or sometimes through injections. Proponents of the diet allege that the hormone speeds up metabolism and increases the rate at which the body burns calories, resulting in drastic weight loss—sometimes even several pounds a day! It sounds like it could be plausible, and a hormone that speeds up metabolism would certainly prove very useful to individuals on weight loss programs. But is the diet truly effective?

About hCG Diet: The Reality

It’s difficult to research the hCG diet on the internet because there’s a wealth of misinformation out there. However, scientific evidence contradicts claims that hCG promotes weight loss: an analysis published in a 1995 edition of the “British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology” found that hCG did not have any characteristics that could promote weight loss. Similarly, the American Society of Bariatric Physicians—a group of doctors who specifically study weight loss—stated in 2009 that the hCG hormone should not be used as a supplement for promoting weight loss.

So it has been definitively proven by the scientific community that hCG doesn’t promote weight loss. But what about the other aspects of the diet? While there’s nothing wrong with cutting calories and eating unprocessed food, a 500 calorie per day diet is near-starvation for most adults. Such an extreme reduction in calories will dramatically reduce the amount of energy available to your body for its daily functions and you’ll quickly feel fatigued and ill. Though many individuals have claimed they lost weight after following the hCG diet, it’s likely because they reduced their caloric intake so drastically, not because of any special properties of hCG. Any individual can lose weight by eating 500 calories a day, but physicians agree that adults should eat at least 1200 to 1500 calories a day to maintain proper health and body function.

It’s easy to be drawn in by the positive diet reviews of hCG weight loss that you might find scattered around the internet. However, this diet is no different from hundreds of other fad diets: it promotes the use of a special substance that appears to help dieters slim down, when in reality, any weight loss that occurs is due to sharp cutting of calories—which has negative effects on one’s health and cannot be maintained in the long term.

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