Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s no doubt you have heard about the HCG Diet.
It has become amazingly popular in the last few years as a weight-loss “solution.”
The acronym “HCG” begs to be explained in order to understand how it is sold as a weight loss solution. So let’s talk about what it is, and if it’s right for you.
HCG is an acronym for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin.
It is a hormone that is produced by pregnant women. It interacts with and controls several other hormones and is an essential component of the fetal development process.
If you want to know all the nitty-gritty details on exactly how the female body uses HCG during pregnancy, go get yourself a cup of coffee, put on some John Coltrane, do a Wikipedia search for “HCG”, and enjoy the read.
HCG stimulates the hypothalamus (again…Wikipedia, amigo), causing the body to increase the production of other hormones that can lead to an increase in metabolic activity.
In other words, because there’s more “stuff” going on in your body hormonally, your body requires more energy to do that “stuff.” This led to the theory that HCG could be used as a weight-loss aid.
Realistically, though, even if your metabolic activity increases, if you’re still eating like crap you won’t lose any weight.
As such, EVERY SINGLE DOCTOR, WITHOUT EXCEPTION that administers or prescribes HCG injections for weight loss also prescribes a very particular DIET that the patient is REQUIRED to follow in conjunction with the treatment.
This diet typically restricts the patient to 500 calories per day and consists primarily of high-protein, low-carb foods. Hmmm…you don’t have to be Einstein to see that ANYONE who follows a diet like that will lose weight, HCG or no HCG.
This begs the question: what is REALLY causing the weight loss? The HCG or the DIET?
Way back in 1976 (yeah…HCG is old news), the Journal of the American Medical Association published the results of a study on HCG and weight loss.
In the double-blind study, one group of individuals was administered HCG injections, while the other group was given a saline placebo. Both groups were placed on the same 500-calorie diet. Both groups lost weight.
BUT (big “but” here) at the end of the study, there was NO DISCERNIBLE DIFFERENCE in the amount of weight lost between the two groups. In other words, it was the 500-calorie diet that led to the weight-loss, NOT the HCG injections.
If this isn’t enough to steer you clear of HCG, maybe this will: you know where HCG comes from?
In most cases, it comes from the urine of pregnant women. Wait. What? Yep. Sure, it’s been isolated, sterilized, and deemed safe for injection, but at the end of the day you’re still injecting some stranger’s urine into your body.
“So why would ANY doctor prescribe the HCG treatment to their patients if they knew all these facts?” That’s a great question. Ready for the answer? It’s gonna sting a little bit. Here it is: MONEY.
Sad, but true. Any doctor selling HCG likes money. And HCG is easy money with treatments easily costing $1200 to $1400.
Rule of thumb: if your doc is prescribing HCG for weight loss, perhaps it’s time to find a new doc.
A final word…
There are no shortcuts in life. This goes for everything: learning to play the piano, learning calculus, getting rich, and losing weight. Just do what it takes. Do it right. Do it consistently– and you WILL win.
When it comes to weight-loss, this means eating right at EVERY MEAL, EVERY DAY, 365 days a year. Eating right means eating primarily meats and vegetables and avoiding the over-processed, starchy stuff that plagues the Standard American Diet.
Personal Trainer Food is here to make it easier for you.