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Sunday, March 20, 2011

The HCG Diet - Another Scam To Avoid

Another money making, diet scam that has gained popularity recently is the HCG Diet. A 500 calorie diet with HCG Injections or drops claims to cause a pound of weight loss a day. Anyone with half a clue would realize that losing a pound a day on a very low calorie diet with hormone injections is about as healthy as starving in an African third world country with Malaria and AIDS.

Human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) is a hormone found in the urine of pregnant women. Dr. Albert Simeons came up with this madness about 50 years ago and it has been all but shun by the majority of the medical community.

During pregnancy, the surge of this hormone signals the hypothalamus in the brain to start moving nutrients and fat into the placenta. When used as part of a weight loss program, it is the fat-mobilization aspects of the hormone that has garnered attention for its seeming ability to help facilitate weight loss.

So where is this pound a day of weight loss coming from. The hormone injection or the lean body mass eating, catabolic, starvation, 500 calorie diet? Odds are that 99% of the weight loss from this diet is from lean body mass, which is never a good plan.

The FDA has approved HCG shots for fertility reasons, but there is no scientific evidence that shows the HCG Diet can significantly promote weight loss. It is used in conjunction with a very low calorie diet, any weight loss that occurs is likely to be due to the reduced caloric intake rather than the HCG shots or drops themselves.

Many side effects have been shown in those who take hCG shots for weight loss. Blood clots, depression, headaches and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome in women have all been cited as common, and even deadly, side effects associated with HCG use. HCG drops are easier than a daily injection, but no clinical studies have been conducted to determine if HCG drops have any change in side effects.

Normally, the HCG Diet lasts for three weeks and is monitored by a health professional. And because the medical community is promoting the diet to make more big bucks, they are part of the problem instead of being part of the solution.

Since 1975, the FDA has required labeling and advertising of HCG to state:

HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or "normal" distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.

So once again I urge everyone to stay away from these crazy diets. Eat clean with the right amount of the right stuff at the right times, exercise vigorously and follow a healthy lifestyle and you will be much better served. Invest your time and money in quality foods and exercise programs instead of  crazy scam diets.
Here are a few references for more info.
Dempsey's Resolution Fitness
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