As a part of the marketing plan, many industries have been tricking their customers to earn more profit. This kind of scheme is more prevalent in the diet supplement business. Many people, who have been hoping to get what was promised through the advertisement, promotions, and labelings, were disappointed. They even lost money, and the worst thing, they are left facing another health problem acquired due to the use of fake products.
This is true with the HCG diet plan that had been circulating in for many years, and the FDA has labeled it as dangerous, fraudulent, and illegal. The FDA had banned numerous industries that did not pass the requirements and have been found violating its rules.
What is HCG?
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone that exists when a woman becomes pregnant; its level is high during the early stage of pregnancy and decreases in the later stages. HCG is then excreted in the urine. The presence of HCG is no longer evident after a few weeks of delivery.
HCG is important because it helps the body in maintaining the production of the estrogen and progesterone hormones, which are crucial for the progress of the embryo and fetus. Doctors also use HCG in treating fertility problems in men and women.
However, the presence of HCG does not always mean pregnancy. Sometimes, it can be a sign of a more serious health concern like certain types of cancers and even non-cancerous conditions not just in women but in men as well.
Because it is becoming popular, many companies are selling HCG, but the FDA does not allow or approve HCG to be sold or used without a prescription.
What is the HCG Diet Plan?
The HCG diet has been around for many decades and still becoming popular. It was first introduced by Albert Simeons, a famous British endocrinologist, in 1954 as a tool for those who want to lose weight.
The HCG diet is a type of diet plan that uses HCG injections, pills, or drops to lose weight. This kind of diet plan only allows eating 500 calories per day while being injected with human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which are obtained from pregnant women’s urine.
Before the HCG diet plan was discovered, doctors used HCG in treating children who are suffering from Frohlich syndrome (a rare metabolic problem in children defined by obesity and delayed development of the sexual organs). Since there was a success report with the use of gonadotropin (now called HCG) via injections, Dr. Simeons did his experiment by giving the hormone to patients (who are obese but no Frohlich syndrome). He found out that his patients’ appetite was suppressed, and the sizes of their waists and hips decreased; however, their weight remains the same. He explained his findings that the fats were being made usable in the metabolic process after the hormone took them away from where they were normally stored. In 1954, Dr. Simeons then published his findings in The Lancet, a medical journal.
To test the plausibility of Dr. Simeon’s diet, researchers in Israel (1959), UC San Francisco, and U.S. Army Hospital in Fort Carson, Colorado (1960s) found out that those who participated in the study complained of constipation, hunger or being weak. All three findings were produced at the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Results of researches done by Dutch researchers regarding the diet were published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. The scientists found out that out of 24 studies, 11 of them were stated that HCG was futile in the treatment of obesity.
Experts have warned the public on the risks and side effects of diets that have strictly limited calories.
Pieter Cohen, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School said, “It’s reckless, irresponsible, and completely irrational”. He also added, “Can you lose weight on it? Of course, but that’s mainly because you’re hardly consuming any calories. And any benefit is not going to last.”
What You Need To Learn About the HCG Diet plan
The HCG diet, despite its controversy, is still gaining its popularity, but here’s what you should know about it.
- The HCG diet may be effective, but it is because you are reducing calories.
In this diet, you are only advised to eat 500 calories a day. A diet with this extremely low calorie will cause weight loss, but will also take its toll.
- Its side effects are dangerous.
This diet will not only make you weak and hungry but also irritable, restless, tired, and depressed. Doctors warn that a diet with extremely low-calorie intake can cause gallstone build-up, irregular heartbeat, imbalance of electrolytes, and limit vitamins and minerals that will enter the body. Some studies link HCG to likely increase cancer.
- It is not backed by medical experts and researchers and almost all HCG supplement has no HCG hormone.
In treating fertility problems among men and women, HCG can help. But in weight loss, studies and data do not support such claim. Even the FDA says that the use of any HCG medication for weight loss is not effective at all.
The diet plan may work by repressing the appetite, but HCG needs a prescription before you can acquire it. The FDA does not approve of any over-the-counter selling of any HCG products. There are some HCG products for weight loss that are labeled as “homeopathic”, but the FDA warns that they are unsafe, and companies that sell OTC (over-the-counter) HCG are going against the law.
The HCG diet plan is tempting as it has been circulating for many decades, but people should not fall for this trap. This type of diet can cause more harm to the body. Losing weight does not mean depriving yourself of proper calorie intake. It is better to talk to a doctor or a nutritionist to help you with your weight loss journey. The traditional way (proper nutrition and exercise regularly) of being healthy and slim is always the best recommendation in achieving a healthier body.