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What Is Hcg Diet

What Is Hcg Diet

What Is Hcg Diet

HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone present at high levels in early pregnancy.

In fact, this hormone is used as a marker in home pregnancy tests .

HCG has also been used to treat fertility issues in both men and women .

However, elevated blood levels of HCG may also be a symptom of several types of cancer, including placental, ovarian and testicular cancer .

A British doctor named Albert Simeons first proposed HCG as a weight loss tool in 1954.

His diet consisted of two main components:

An ultra-low-calorie diet of around 500 calories per day.

The HCG hormone administered via injections.

Today, HCG products are sold in various forms, including oral drops, pellets and sprays. They are also available through countless websites and some retail stores.

Has the HCG diet been shown to be safe and effective?

No on both counts. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised consumers to steer clear of over-the-counter weight-loss products that contain HCG. HCG is human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone produced during pregnancy.

As a prescription medication, HCG is used mainly to treat fertility issues. HCG is not approved for over-the-counter use, nor has it been proved to work for weight loss. HCG medications are required to carry a label from the FDA noting that the medication is not effective for weight loss. Some over-the-counter HCG weight-loss products are labeled "homeopathic" — but the FDA says they're still not safe. Companies that sell over-the-counter HCG weight-loss products are breaking the law.

So why has there been so much talk about the HCG diet? Perhaps it's because the diet recommends severe calorie restriction — typically just 500 to 800 calories a day. People who follow such a very low-calorie diet are likely to lose weight, at least in the short term. Some research has linked HCG weight-loss products to a possible increase in cancer risk. HCG might encourage the production of androgen cells, which could result in the growth of certain types of cancers.

What Is the HCG Diet, and How Does the Fad Diet Work?

The diet requires that you eat only 500 calories a day, supposedly as part of an effort to help reset your metabolism and change your abnormal eating patterns, as the FDA explains in its warning against the diet. (1) The HCG diet also requires you to take a daily dose of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Available in injections, pellets, sprays, oral drops, and pills, HCG is the hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy.

In 1954, British physician A.T.W. Simeons theorized that HCG allows mothers-to-be to access fat reserves to feed their fetuses. He published a book, Pounds and Inches: A New Approach to Obesity, in which he suggested that HCG could help people access their fat reserves and achieve weight loss.

The idea might have been that, if a woman had morning sickness or some other condition that prevented her from taking in ample nutrition at a certain point in her pregnancy, her baby would still have a reserve of energy to draw on, and the hormone HCG could help facilitate access to that supply, Weinandy says. But, she notes, this really oversimplifies the numerous systems at work in pregnancy: A number of hormones are active, and the way they interact can sometimes even promote fat gain for the mother.

The Controversy Over HCG

The use of HCG as part of a specific weight loss protocol is a controversial approach, and some physicians refuse to prescribe it.

The main criticism of the HCG protocol is, frankly, that it's ineffective.

Critics of the HCG protocol point to research studies that have found that HCG is no more effective than placebo, and say that the effects of the diet are due to being on a very low-calorie diet of 500 calories a day, and not the HCG.

There are some vague criticisms about whether HCG is safe, but typically, the concerns cite side effects that are associated with the use of HCG for fertility. High-dose HCG for fertility treatments can result in ovarian hyperstimulation, and rupture of ovarian cysts, among other side effects. The doses used for fertility treatment, typically 5,000 - 10,000 IU are, however, much higher than the 125 IU a day typically used in the HCG protocol.

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