The HCG Diet is a diet plan for people who want to lose weight without feeling hungry. It promises to help with weight loss by having you eat between 500 to 1200 calories a day, alongside a hormone made during pregnancy.
HCH stands for human chorionic gonadotropinm, and pregnant mothers make it to help babies grow. There are other unique aspects to this diet plan such as:
It’s also said to help you from feeling the same kind of hunger pains that you would feel, if you were to simply reduce calories alone.
Though the weight loss is slower, it’s meant to help those who can’t survive off strictly 500 calories. So there’s more flexibility, though you can still do the 500-calorie version.
You can lose upwards of 0.8 pounds a day according to the plan. Though it’s based off of what goals you have in mind.
This diet became more popular as people like Dr. Oz started talking about it. The HCG diet is one of the few plans out that promises weight loss alongside a natural hormone. However, does it actually help people lose weight, or is it another fad?
Very specific foods choices are allowed on this diet and no substitutions are allowed. Here’s a list of what you can eat while on the HCG Diet:
Anything not featured in this list you have to avoid. Though the diet plan does not specify why they ban so many foods. There’s also 3 phases offered, and in each phase there’s slightly different food combinations allowed.
There’s also specific serving sizes allowed on this diet and it includes:
The general plan can change depending on what your caloric limit is. However, you’re not allowed to eat any other foods outside of this plan. So it’s fairly restrictive as to what’s allowed, without explaining why exactly they added and avoided certain foods.
This lack of explanation might be why the FDA has not approved it, and why they’ve sent warning letters to companies who make false weight loss claims about the HCG Diet.
The process is depending on your individual desires. You essentially get a significantly reduced calorie diet, which is known to help with weight loss.
Typically, when reducing calories this low it can be extremely hard to upkeep without feeling extreme hunger. The added solution to this is to have the hormone HCG drops.
One key thing to remember about these drops or injections is that according to Shape:
“Almost none of the supplements contain actual hCG”
“Most of the supplements are sold as “homeopathic”
So this means that unless you get actual doctors prescription, you’re unlikely to actually get a real dose of the hormone needed.
Also, the same group mentions that:
“There are no clinical trials or rigorous strides that support the hCG diet plan”
This is why the FDA will often send letters to companies to market this plan. They will often tell them to stop making false claims without any proof. There’s also more than one website currently which sells this plan in different forms.
The reason for all the negative reviews for this diet is because there’s n proof to suggest that their diet plan is effective or safe. Limiting calories this much can be harmful, as the body is not getting enough energy to support itself.
It can also lead to nutritional deficiencies, which have to supplement with more supplements. This further raises the cost of dieting with HCG.
This diet plan can be extremely restrictive, and you won’t find any proof that it actually works. This is why Web MD mentions that:
“None of this is approved by the FDA for weight loss”
Companies who market this diet plan and sell the droplets or injections will often make many claims but offer no proof.
It’s important before taking any supplement to make sure you actually know it’s safe and effective to use. Much better solutions are available that actually have proof to back up their weight loss benefits.
Another issue that Web MD brings up is that:
“It’s impossible to meet all your nutritional needs on so few calories”
“Doctors sometimes recommend very-low-calorie diet…. But these diets are always carefully supervised by a doctor”
An issue with this type of diet is the possible returning of weight. Even one HCG website mentions:
“Can you gain the weight back? Yes”
It’s really difficult to sustain such a caloric deficit while still remaining healthy. The diet plan does advise to take extra supplements, but this essentially means that you’re guaranteed to be deficient, and that extra vitamins and minerals would be needed to help sustain your body.
Therefore, it’s unknown what kind of a long-term impact this might have. Having to keep spending extra money on supplements can be a costly thing to deal with.
This diet will likely lead to weight loss, but the issue is whether or not it can be sustained. Any diet plan no matter what foods they introduce will help with weight loss when you’re limited to around 500 calories a day.
Both men and women need more, and that’s why on nutrition fact labels you’ll often see a 2,000-calorie standard. Any fewer calories and you’re likely to suffer from serious nutritional deficiencies. This can have negative impacts on your overall health.
There’s no proof to suggest this diet will be a safe or effective solution to weight loss. There’s better alternatives out which can help produce safe results.
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