The HCG diet has been a very polarizing topic in the medical and fitness communities. Opponents and proponents go back and forth on who might be right and who might be wrong. In the meantime both sides tend to throw out accusations based on emotion and opinion instead of facts which quickly degrades the conversation.
Unfortunately there are a number of points that are often repeated that really do not or should not matter in this debate. We will attempt to address some of these points on a case by case basis to hopefully clear up any misunderstandings.
HCG is not an approved diet product- This is true by strict standards, in fact we take special care to post the FDA disclaimer on the site (see disclaimer at the end of this article) to point out that this is NOT an FDA approved treatment for weight loss or obesity. Keep in mind this is a fairly standard practice, the FDA cannot possibly review every stated or hypothesized benefit of a product. For example, today we all know that aspirin is officially a method of treating heart issues; this was not always the case. Once upon a time doctors were suggesting aspirin as an “off label” treatment for heart conditions until the FDA caught up. There are hundreds if not thousands of medications being used today for “off label” purposes.
The HCG Diet is a fad diet- I am not sure about the rest of you but a diet that has been around since the 1950’s and is still around today does not meet my qualifications of a fad diet. When I think of a fad diet I think of something that comes from obscurity to popular back to obscure within a very short period of time. The fact is there are hundreds of clinics throughout the US that us the HCG protocol every single day.
When you stop the HCG diet plan you will gain the weight back- This is an interesting argument to me. The reason that this one is so true is because we can say that about anything. For instance, if I take up running marathons and cut back my calories and eliminate sugar, chances are that I will drop significant weight. Now what do you think will happen 30 days after I stop running marathons and go back to making the same poor food choices I made before? You guessed it, the weight will come back. That is no different than the HCG diet. Furthermore, the HCG diet IS NOT intended to be a lifestyle change, it is simply a very rapid weight loss program designed to help you lose weight quickly, once you have completed a 30 or 40 day program you are supposed to proceed to a more sensible diet that you can maintain for a lifetime.
HCG is a hormone and therefore dangerous- HCG is a hormone and like all hormones may have certain issues, especially if you have a history of cancer. HCG is produced naturally by pregnant women and it is also used as a treatment for fertility issues in men and women, it used for young boys who have not reached puberty yet but should have and it is also used (illegally) by athletes recovering from a steroid cycle in order to improve natural testosterone production.
Buying HCG opens you up for fake products- The FDA has found that over the counter drops has either trace amounts of HCG or none at all, in fact even prescription HCG drops is incredibly difficult to absorb. While not explicitly fake the usefulness is limited in this form. In the United States regulations are very strict in regards to producing and selling HCG, purchasing product from overseas on the other hand can be a gamble. Unless you are familiar with the country and where the source of the HCG is you may find yourself using a product that either has no HCG in it or may have been created in unsanitary conditions, which can be life threatening.
You cannot workout while on HCG- On the surface this is true. It is not true due to the hormone itself but instead due to the very low calorie diet that you will be on while on the program. With such a limited calorie amount it is not recommended to participate in a fitness regimen. On the other hand some people will do it anyway, if you are one of those people then be sure to add at least an addition 100+ calories (protein preferably) to your diet to compensate. The higher the intensity of the workout the more calories you should add.
A Very Low Calorie Diet is Dangerous- Depending on who you ask this can be true. Your body needs a minimum amount of calories just to function properly, go below that limit and you may experience health related issues. On the other hand, there are plenty of studies available online about the benefits of a short term low calorie diet. Of course these studies were conducted under the supervision of a physician but the data found that obese patients lost weight and were able to lower cholesterol levels and even reduce the need of insulin for those suffering from diabetes. These studies have nothing to do with the HCG diet in particular but it goes to show that a limited duration low calorie plan can actually be a benefit if done correctly.
When it comes to the HCG argument just be sure to do the research, not every program is for every person. As always before you participate in ANY diet modification or fitness program you should seek the opinion of a medical professional.
FDA labeling for the approved HCG drug products requires the following statement about the use of HCG:
“HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence beyond that resulting from caloric restriction that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.”