Since the hCG diet was first described by British doctor Albert T. W. Simeons, many people have successfully lost a significant amount of weight on the plan. Some people claim weight losses of 1 to 2 pounds a day. But the diet comes with serious health and efficacy concerns.
hCG, which is short for human chorionic gonadotrophin, is a hormone found in pregnant women. In his research, Simeons found that, when paired with an ultra-low-calorie diet, hCG could lead to the rapid loss of fat and excess weight. Although Simeons originally recommended daily injections of hCG, many people now consume it orally in the form of hCG drops.
The most important part of this diet is the daily intake of hCG. Simeons' original plan called for daily injections of the hormone, but because hCG is only available by prescription and is mainly used to treat fertility issues, it can be difficult to obtain. Many health food stores sell hCG serum drops, which may be placed under the tongue.
According to Simeons, hCG suppresses hunger pangs and alters your metabolism so that you burn fat for energy. In 2011, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned several companies who were marketing hCG products to stop making weight-loss claims, as the assertions were unsupported by scientific evidence.
In addition to taking hCG, dieters are advised to limit daily consumption to 500 calories of unprocessed foods. Simeon's original diet, outlined in his 1954 book Pounds and Inches, is very restrictive and calls for a specific daily meal plan. However, recent proponents are more generous, allowing for a balanced combination of minimally processed foods.
For those people who have a lot of weight to lose, the hCG diet can be very tempting. Some people have claimed that they lost weight at a rate of one or more pounds a day.
Long-term, extreme calorie restrictions, like those required by this diet, come with significant risks. It can lead to irregular heartbeat, the formation of gallstones, electrolyte imbalances, and other concerns.
The FDA warns customers to stay away from hCG products due to concerns about the product’s efficacy. hCG is a pregnancy hormone, and introducing it to your body can have serious consequences.
Even though many people claim they lost a lot of weight with hCG injections or drops, scientific evidence has shown that hCG does not actually promote weight loss. Two studies, one in 1995 and the other in 2009, concluded that the hormone did not lead to weight loss.
The hCG diet may sound tempting, particularly to people who have failed to lose weight with other diets. But this diet comes with serious health concerns and significant doubts about its effectiveness.
Any diet that calls for a severe restriction in calorie consumption for a long period of time is potentially dangerous, and likely to be ineffective as many people regain the weight they lost.
If you have a lot of pounds to shed, talk to your doctor about other options that will lead to long-term, sustainable weight loss.