If you haven’t heard of it by now, the HCG Diet Plan is one that is reputed to promote fast weight loss among women who participate. The diet itself involves getting injections of the pregnancy hormone, HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) and severely restricting calories. Women on the HCG Diet Plan consume 500 or fewer calories per day and claim they do not feel hungry.
Many people searching for a cure for their lifelong struggles with excess weight and obesity are flocking to the HCG weight-loss diet plan which promises phenomenal results of half a pound to one pound per day (up to 30 pounds per month).
However, critics warn that the diet is dangerous, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has gone so far as to call over-the-counter HCG medications, often labeled as homeopathic, illegal.
In their official statement, The American Society of Bariatric Physicians concludes that the use of HCG for weight loss is not recommended.
Is HCG all Bad?
Absolutely not. HCG is something the body produces naturally while you are pregnant. The hormone can also be used to treat women who are having fertility issues allowing them to become pregnant.
There are even some claims that HCG can help ease the symptoms of metabolic syndrome, though many believe it is the heavily restricted diet that is effective in this rather than the hormone.
What is the HCG Diet Plan?
In the early days, the HCG Diet Plan was exactly as described above. Patients would visit weight loss clinics to receive weekly injections of the HCG and then follow a heavily restricted (not to mention very specific) diet at home.
Proponents of the HCG diet plan claim that injecting HCG into their skin six days a week for eight weeks helps to break down body fat and rev up their metabolism. Add that to cutting calories, and they believe that the weight loss results increase.
While there are some variations, a typical day in the diet of someone on an HCG diet includes the following:
Breakfast: No solid foods are allowed before lunch. HCG dieters can enjoy coffee or tea for breakfast without sugar or cream. A total daily allotment of one tablespoon of milk is allowed, which can be added to your morning brew.
Lunch and Dinner: Lunch and dinner account for the bulk of daily caloric intake, but at a whopping total of 500 calories for the day do not amount to much. It does allow for 3.5 ounces of lean, fat-free protein; limited access to vegetables and carbohydrates.
Meats: While many diets encourage fatty meats like salmon, tuna, etc. the HCG Diet Plan declares them strictly off-limits. Instead, it encourages veal, chicken breasts (skinless, of course), shrimp, lobster, crab, and non-marbled beef. Meat on the HCG diet should be boiled or grilled.
Vegetables: Many are surprised by the strict limits on vegetables. The philosophy is that the bulk of calories should come in the form of muscle building proteins. Few vegetables are allowed and they include vegetables like tomatoes, spinach, beet greens, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage, and celery. You cannot top vegetables with oil, butter, or salt, however.
Carbs: Carbohydrates are also heavily restricted on this diet with dieters being allowed one breadstick or piece of melba toast with each meal as well as a very specific fruit serving.
The only thing truly allowed on the HCG diet in limitless supply is water (tap or mineral water only). The minimum suggestion is that dieters should drink a minimum of two liters daily.
It’s important to note that reducing calories to 500 per day can have detrimental effects on the body, especially when doing so for an extended period of time. It can result in deficiencies in important nutrients vitamins, minerals, fat, and protein. It also results in your body losing more muscle, rather than fat, which in the end is counterproductive as it causes your metabolism to slow.
The sad truth is that women everywhere are literally starving themselves in hopes of being thin by following the HCG Diet Plan. Even among those that enjoy great success for taking off the pounds and inches, many of them regain the weight after returning to a normal diet. Others may find they face a lifelong struggle with malnutrition and other health problems as a result. Overall, the HCD diet it is not one that is considered safe and should be approached with extreme caution.