I Think HCG Is On The Comeback!
Is HCG On The Comeback?
The HCG diet was introduced in the 1950s and, since its inception, has been considered controversial.
But the big question is does it work? And does it work just because you are restricted to low calories for 21 days ?
The HCG diet combines a very low calorie diet – typically 500 -700 cal per day – with the daily injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) or oral sublingual drops or capsule. I have seen great results with all delivery methods. Many proponents claim that following the diet can result in an average weight loss of up to 0.5kg per day for up to a month. The diet was developed by A.T.W. Simeons, M.D. based on his obesity research and seemingly extensive experience using the hormone successfully.
How does it work?
HCG is a hormone that is produced by the placenta during pregnancy. Its function, at least in part, is to support foetal development by assuring that energy is maximally mobilised so that it is available to the growing foetus. It seems to do this by affecting the structures of the diencephalon, a part of the primitive brain that controls automatic functions in the body. Fat metabolism and storage is one such function.
One of the theories of obesity is that the diencephalon can be overwhelmed by excessive stressors or imbalances (such as overeating, sedentary lifestyles, hormone imbalances, psychological or emotional stressors, etc.) such that it becomes reset to a level that is more tolerant to the inefficient use and storage of fat. This typically happens in our late 30s or early 40s but can start as early as our late 20s, when perhaps our caloric intake remains unchanged but our level of daily exercise decreases significantly. It can also happen as a consequence of our hormone levels and balance deteriorating starting as early as our 30s. It is no coincidence that this is when most people start to experience an increase in weight gain, especially in areas such as the hips and belly, which are neither normal nor healthy areas of fat storage.
Abnormal fat is the type that accumulates in the abdomen (especially in men) and hips (especially in women), and is a reflection of excessive caloric intake and/or imbalances of metabolism from any number of underlying conditions. The problem with the storage of abnormal fat is that because it is the product of abnormal metabolism, it is not easily accessible to or re-mobilised by the body for fuel. In other words, the abnormal fat accumulates, but the body is less able to access and use it for energy (as it does with normal fat deposits).
Low calorie diets and excessive exercise do little to help the situation because they further stress the body, thereby worsening an already aberrant metabolism. Instead of using abnormal fat, the body will metabolise structural fat, normal fat, and even muscle tissue. This leads to decreased amounts of supportive and necessary fat (resulting in aches and pains in the joints) and muscle loss.
In theory, the use of HCG does two things to circumvent this problem. By affecting the primitive control centres in the brain, it decreases hunger such that individuals can maintain very low calorie diets without hunger.
In addition, through mechanisms that makes abnormal fat more accessible and usable to the body, and this is the primary reason why it is produced during pregnancy.
In this way HCG acts as a key that unlocks access to energy in otherwise abnormal fat stores and therefore provides additional energy to a growing fetus; or, in the case of an HCG dieter, allows the individual to access and burn their abnormal fat. The diet works by having the body run on this now accessible energy (anywhere from 1400-2500 calories per day) wherein it is burning off what is otherwise stagnant and persistent body fat while simultaneously preserving normal and structural fat as well as muscle.
The diet combines a very low calorie diet – typically 500 - 700 cal per day – with the daily injection or sublingual dose of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)
Does the HCG DIET work?
There is nothing better than anecdotal experience – including my own professional experience with the diet – seems to suggest yes it works. . The results that I personally have witnessed , have been impressive. In the small cohort with whom I have worked, the typical result is weight loss of anywhere from 5 to 10 kg over the 21 days. .
But why would a diligent and responsible health practitioner, doctor or practical patient even consider experimenting with a study that conventional medicine clearly rejects?
In contrast, many commonly used medications for obesity like Phentermine (duramine) and other medications have side effects that are potentially far more harmful and far worse than HCG.
Risks, downsides or side effects of the HCG Diet?
The case is no different for HCG except that the potential harm is usually discussed in generalities and is mostly linked to concerns regarding a low-calorie diet. Concerns in the literature include fatigue, irritability, restlessness, depression, fluid retention, swelling, pain reduction and improved mobility.
But on fair and balanced review of the evidence, the concern for worrisome side effects is minimal and in practice I have not seen my patients experience any significant side effects. In fact I often hear words like reduced pain in joints , sleeps better and happier mentally.
As a practical approach would I consider the HCG diet as part of a more comprehensive, holistic weight management program as long as it is conducted under the supervision of both an experienced doctor and weight loss Consultant, Yes because I see success with weightloss in stubborn areas like the tummy. And In the appropriately selected patient, HCG may be a reasonable consideration. Such a patient would be one that is likely to change their dietary behaviours long-term so as to not undo the benefits of treatment afterwards.
A very low calorie diet VLCD is typically neither necessary nor recommended for most long term. A more reasonable and safe approach (although somewhat less dramatic in effect) could would be to use HCG for its potential ability to affect abnormal fat loss in conjunction with a low-calorie diet (like 1000 calories say). And then after desirable weight is achieved have a management plan in place by using a trigger weight that reminds you things are changing.
I use a trigger weight with my clients all the time. If my clients gradually put on weight again, and they reach that trigger weight then we do a Clean Food Fast. This is a a 5 day food fast to bring them back to an ideal body weight ASAP. It’s an anti-inflammation program.
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