Important Things You Need To Know About the HCG Diet
The HCG diet is a diet based on doses of human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone usually produced only by pregnant women. HCG is found in pregnant women’s urine and it’s the basis for pregnancy tests. The hormone allows the fetus, during the early days of pregnancy, to use the woman’s stores of fat, whether the woman herself is getting the proper nutrition or not. The theory behind the HCG diet is that the hormone will also use up a non-pregnant person’s fat stores, and keep the unwanted fat from returning.
Origins of the HCG Diet
The research for the HCG diet has actually been going on since the 1930’s. The hormone is important in the development of genitals, and was used on boys who weren’t achieving puberty at the right time. The doctor who treated these boys noticed that they could eat much less than normal without being hungry, as long as they were on the hormone. It was then that the doctor, A.T. W. Simeons, began to investigate HCG therapy for weight loss.
The HCG Diet Therapy
The therapy itself lasts at least 26 days or as long as 43. The patient is dosed with HCG for 23 or 40 of those days, either through injection or sublingual drops. The patient isn’t dosed for the last three days of the therapy to give the hormone time to clear the body before the patient can eat normally again. Dr. Simeons observed that after 40 days the patients started developing a resistance to the hormone, and it would no longer work for them. He recommended that if a patient wanted to try the therapy again, they should wait for six weeks. All in all, he advised that no patient try the therapy more than four times, which would take up the better part of a year if the courses were done consecutively. The therapy is relatively expensive, and can cost from $500 to $1,000 per course.
After the third day of the the diet, the patient begins a 500 calorie a day regiment. It’s thought that after the third dose of HCG the hormone has reached the appropriate blood levels and can do its job of burning off fat without too much exercise. The 500 calorie diet is a high protein, low carbohydrate, no dairy, no sugar, no alcohol diet. If the patient is so tormented by hunger pains that they backslide, they must spend the next full day drinking lots of water and eating lots of apples.
Potential HCG Diet Complications
HCG, being a pregnancy hormone, makes the patient feel like they’re pregnant. Other complications are blood clots, constipation, depression, gynecomastia, thinning hair, and leg cramps. One very serious complication of the HCG diet happens when the hormone overstimulates the ovaries, which can potentially fill the abdominal cavity with fluid and lead to kidney failure. HCG’s role in stimulating the ovaries makes it a fairly good fertility drug, and women must take extra precautions if they don’t wish to have that particular complication. More, the paltry calories of the diet means that the body is starving, and will suffer the symptoms of starvation.
Studies have shown that the HCG diet works no better than a placebo. The FDA approves HCG only as a fertility drug, but it’s still prescribed by doctors, and bought off the black market, or through the internet, for weight loss.