Have any of you heard about this diet? It's gaining in popularity immensely, and it's actually a little frighting. The general idea behind the diet is that HCG, a hormone that pregnant women produce during the first few months of pregnancy, which is also the hormone that is tested to check for pregnancy, will basically suppress appetite while signalling the body to burn fat and retain organ function and lean muscle. This is done to ensure that a fetus has the energy it requires to grow, or something along those lines.
This drug is extracted from the urine of pregnant women, and injected or otherwise consumed by dieters while eating a roughly 500 calorie a day diet consisting mostly of protein, fruits, and veggies. This is done for six to eight weeks, and then you're off for an equal amount of time before doing it again. This can be done up to three times. Expected weight loss is around one pound a day.
Recently, whatever health insurance the school district offers here has began paying for specialized HCG treatment with licensed medical doctors. A friend of mine who has been obese for probably 15 years has been on it for a month now and has lost thirty pounds. According to him, he feels great and has a ton of energy. Two days before he started the 500cal/day portion of the diet, he was told to basically binge eat as much as he possibly could. The first few days of the reduced caloric intake he felt lethargic and hungry, but after that all was good. Every couple of days, I believe, he eats only an apple and 100g of meat, and calls it a "reset day".
The skeptical part of me thinks this is incredibly crazy. However, I believe it also makes a small amount of sense. Apparently, though I've only found pages saying this and not the actual study, there are studies showing that those given a placebo of HCG had an equal amount of weight loss. This leads me to believe that the HCG makes no difference and that those on this diet are simply in something of a deep ketosis diet, where they don't feel lethargic or hungry simply because they do have excessive amounts of fat to burn for energy, or something along those lines.
My pregnant cousin has seen my friends weight loss success, and having put on something like 60lbs during pregnancy, and always having had trouble with weight in the past, now wishes to give it a go herself a few months after she has her child. This entire diet worries me, but there isn't much I can really say in light of my friends 'success', as well as stories they've all been hearing for several months now. They've seen my success, both on Paleo and not, but given that my success is attributed to hard work and what they now deem my 'crazy diet', I doubt I could ever sway them against a magic injection that makes them skinny without putting in any work.
I know this isn't exactly a paleo question, though I wish I could sway them to even just read Why We Get Fat, but I've seen a lot of good information come from this website and I was hoping some of you had some insight. I'd love to hear what any of you have to say, and perhaps if there are things I can show them that might sway their opinion against this, if it is indeed negative as I fear, then all the better.
Thanks a lot, guys and gals!
HCG is snake oil. It does nothing. Only calorie restriction is what's working on this diet.
References in article linked above:
the real issue with this diet is the calorie restriction and the fact it allows the user to remain leptin resistant. Anything that calorie restricts means leptin will make us regain the weight when calories return. HCG is useful to raise testosterone levels......in some cases. And the reason it works for obesity is because of its effects on hormone sensitive lipase and lipoprotwin lipase in the belly and butt and hips adipose tissues. In my view your better off optimizing your sex steroid hormones exogenously with bioidenticals with a doc who knows what they are doing and eating with a paleo diet. There must be a documented hormone discrepancy before you can use them but i have not met an overweight person yet who does not have some type of hormonal imbalance.
I am with Laura! There is so much bogus research on the internet and in newspapers, but without going further and actually reading the book to see how it works, you wont get accurate information! This diet is not for everyone and for others it works wonders when nothing else has worked. I am currently on the HCG diet and finally have lost the weight that wouldn't come off with diet & exercise alone. I do Crossfit & Paleo and indeed lost 10 pounds and then nothing. After being on several medications for a severe injury as well as anti-depressants. No matter what I did my metabolism was whacked. Many people on HCG who follow protocol keep the weight off and never regain it back. You have to be extremely disciplined & if you want to keep the weight loss, you can't go back to eating your unhealthy lifestyle prior to the diet! We are also able to eat 1500 to 2000 healthy calories a day to maintain the weight we lost. If this diet didn't work thousands wouldn't have had successful results including me! I have done every diet in the world and nothing worked. I've even done the master cleanse and similar low cal diets and I was starving. This diet, when your dose is correct, you are NOT hungry and your body is learning to use it's stored abnormal fats for energy in addition to the 500 calories. On the days I do Crossfit or other exercise I increase my protein.
There are also clinics out there giving out bad information. If your going to do this diet, I would suggest reading the book "Pounds & inches" br Dr. Simmeons, it's available online for free and then choose an appropriate clinic who follows protocol. I spent hundreds on HCG/shakes/bars/supplements at the clinics not loosing any weight before finding out the real information for myself. There are real clinics out there who follow protocol and this is how it should be followed.
HCG also follows a Paleo lifestyle & when followed correctly encourages it's users to make healthier life choices as to food. It teaches you discipline and retrains you how to eat healthy. It completely transforms everything you thought you knew about food and all the bogus crap the government tells you is "healthy for you."
There is absolutely no evidence to support the use of hcg for weight loss. And the *small print for these diets is that they are grossly calorie restricted to between 400-600/day.
"Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1995 Sep;40(3):237-43. The effect of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity by means of the Simeons therapy: a criteria-based meta-analysis.
Lijesen GK, Theeuwen I, Assendelft WJ, Van Der Wal G.
Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Abstract
Best weight loss method for new mom - breast feeding. (also the very best thing to do for your baby) This diet looks like it would preclude breast feeding which requires a lot of calories and nutrients.
n=1 I lost 40 lbs in 6 months after birth by simply breast feeding (despite not have an ideal diet) and not owning a car - hence lots of "foraging" type walking to store, laundromat etc. while lifting a (semi)heavy weight - daughter, and heavy weights - grocery and laundry sacks. I definitely did not calorie restrict at all - had to eat a LOT to support the feeding and activity.
Did you guys know that if a person tests positive for HCg and they are not a pregnant woman, that they have cancer? See World without Cancer: the story of vitamin B-17 by G Edward Griffin.
I went on HCG this past summer. I've been eating low-carb/paleo for the past 3 years and lost 50 lbs within the first 15 months. After I stopped going to the gym 3x/day (which I was doing in the last 4-6 weeks) I've gained 25 lbs back. I never got it officially checked, but blamed my thyroid. I began seeing a "holistic" doctor who had come highly recommended, and he sold me HCG for $300. Desperate, I bought it, thinking it would cure all my weight issues. I lasted about a day and a half and almost died of hunger. According to the receptionist (who rarely let me speak with the doctor about the problems I was having) I was the only patient who had any sort of difficulty. I figured that since I already ate paleo, I wasn't on the same par as most of the other clients, and that made me frustrated, that I already ate so well and these people who went from mcdonalds to 500 calories a day were losing 30-40 lbs and I couldn't even lose 5. I almost forced my doctor to prescribe me adderall, so that my hunger would be suppressed (and not even that worked). Now, about 6 months later, I've discovered (without the help of that doctor... I was told to find another doctor) that the problem isn't my thyroid or the way I eat, but my liver. I do not recommend HCG to anyone.... I agree, part of it makes sense, the logic that the doctor and his assistents threw at me anyway, but overall... figure out what's not working for you instead of using a (very expensive) band-aid to cover it up.
My sister did it and her appendix burst 2 weeks after starting it. May have been coincidental. Injecting something from anyones urine is totally bizarre in my opinion and shows just how desperate people have become to be "thin."
I say love yourself, live a good life responsibly and stick as close to "natural" as possible.
HCG (as other people have mentioned) is noted as being a crazy / non-weight loss thing.
I would not take an insurance company supporting it to seriously either, there is currently a lot of hand-wringing in medicine over the inclusion of "integrative medicine" "traditional Chinese medicine" and the generic homeopathy variants in the real medical field. So you will see crazy things supported by entities that would traditionally avoid quackery now.
A good place for the odd stuff like that is http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/ (relatively long running blog by a surgeon). Though I think the anti-vax stuff is usually considered more vile than things like HCG, but still its all bad stuff.
If you get your total calories low enough, you are also getting your carb intake low too, and in a lot of cases it is low enough to go below what Atkins called "carbohydrate equilibrium"--the point where your insulin is not jacked up and preventing fat loss. So you're going to see some fat loss that way, especially on a very low-cal diet that still allows meat, as apparently the HCG diet does.
That said, I can't fathom someone is getting their nutritional needs met on that little food. They might if it were all meat, including organ meat, but let's face it, your average fad-diet plan doesn't go that far.
Even without the potential risks of taking a hormone that should only be found in pregnant women, I can't believe a mixed diet at that low level of calories is giving the dieter enough protein to maintain lean mass, hormone production or anything else. It's probably lowfat too, even worse. I wouldn't touch a diet like this with a ten-foot pole. It amazes me how many people out there understand that anorexia is an undesirable eating disorder but are still willing to starve themselves if it's an Expert(tm) with a bunch of letters after his or her name telling them to do it. And that includes bariatric surgery patients.
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