Sunday, May 8, 2011

hCG Diet- What is it and Why is it SO DANGEROUS?

I apologize for not blogging anymore, but 17 units in school, wedding planning, and getting ready to start the dietetics program is overwhelming!
I had a request for a topic on the hCG diet, so here goes!
From surgical fixes such as lap band and gastric bypass to crazy "quick weight loss" diets, these methods have always been something I'm opposed to. Fad-diets such as Atkins (low-carb, high protein), low-fat, no sugar, gluten-free, they make me want to scream! The most recent fad-diet that is gaining a lot of attention is called the "hCG diet", and it makes me sick to my stomach. It should be called the "voluntarily anorexic" diet, and that's putting it nicely. Featured on Doctor Oz, the hCG diet is slowly, but surely being exposed for what it really is, DANGEROUS.
So you may be asking, what exactly does this "diet" entail? What is HCG? Why is it so bad? Well that's why I'm here, everyone, to answer your questions and concerns regarding this ridiculous fad. 
First of all, hCG is a hormone, scientifically defined as Human Chorionic Gonadotropin.
It is a natural accruing protein hormone that develops in the placenta during the first trimester of pregnancy shortly after conception. There is the old way of using it in injection form, and today an oral form also exists. 
This protein hormone is considered a peptide. Peptides are a class of hormone that are secreted into the blood stream and aide in endocrine function. SO how can a hormone that is the means of measuring pregnancy in women able to assist in weight loss and "curing obesity"? It is the hormone that has been studied to have an effect of jump-starting the hypothalamus and tells your body to breakdown body fat, keep lean muscle, and assist in keeping muscles intact and not depleted while restricting your calories.
People have found great results, meaning super FAST [which by now you know means UNHEALTHY] weight loss. It has NOTHING to do with the hormone itself. It has to do with the fact that the main part of the "diet" is restricting your calories to less than half of which should be consumed in a day at MAXIMUM weight loss of 2lbs/week (1200 calories per day). The guidelines to this diet are to consume between 500-800 calories a day along with taking in this hormone, and viola! You have lost insane amounts of weight! 
FYI: ANYBODY that consumes 500-800 calories a day is going to lose weight, fast. This hormone is not promoting weight-loss, but instead, trying to make such an unhealthy amount of calories consumed LESS detrimental to your body but preventing muscle-wasting, a common symptom of starvation. Just because it supposedly promotes the holding on of lean muscle, doesn't mean it is preventing your organs from failing, your brain activity from declining, and your body from starving itself thin. 
The hormone is also said to lower your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), but if your body is literally eating it's own muscle, tissues and organs, what does your RMR really matter anyway?

Bottom line, this is one of the most pathetic fad diets I have seen. It is nothing more than a starvation diet that makes you think you are starving yourself in a healthy way. HCG does not promote healthy weight loss, and eating less than 1200 calories a day for females (1800 for males), can be very detrimental to the primary functions of your body. Claiming to get the extra calories your body needs from abnormal and excess fat from your body is BULL. Although the rounds are usually for only a few weeks at a time, this doesn't excuse it from being extremely unhealthy. And recurring the process on a regular basis can permanently damage your body. It takes time to put weight on, it takes time to take it off. The faster you lose it, the faster it will come back. Be smart about weight loss, don't exceed 2lbs a week, don't eat less than 1200 calories a day, and don't give in to crazy quick fixes! 

Have a Healthy Week!

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