#MythBusting: The HCG Diet

#MythBusting: The HCG Diet

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Human chorionic gonadotropin, HCG, is a hormone released in women during the very early stages of pregnancy to promote healthy fetal formation. It is thought that the hormone is responsible for the lack of appetite many women experience during early pregnancy stages, which is why HCG products are used to promote weight loss today.

But, empty promises are a big thing in the weight loss industry, and the HCG diet tops the list of nonsense claims.

Alongside taking numerous daily HCG drops, the diet itself involves eating only two meals per day and reducing calorie intake to just 500 calories per day for 8 weeks. Such a massive drop in calories will result in fast weight loss, of course, but it’s common to gain the weight back as soon as your eating habits return back to normal. It is almost impossible to meet all your body’s nutritional needs on such a low calorie diet, which is why lethargy, constipation, and dizziness are common side effects that you will have to deal with if you are restricting your food intake this intensely.

HCG products, available in the form of injections, are approved by the FDA to treat infertility. Needless to say, taking such products regularly can interfere with the delicate balance of male and female hormone levels. Other HCG products are available on the market in the form of drops, pills, or sprays. The HCG in these products becomes denatured before it ever reaches your body, so essentially you are paying (a lot of) money for a saline solution!

Giving the lack of evidence surrounding such an extreme diet, it is not surprising that the FDA claimed the diet to be “fraudulent, dangerous, and illegal”. We understand that quick fixes are tempting, but the potential dangers make it really not worth it. Sticking to a balanced nutrition plan and good exercise regime will do your body much more good and will give you better results in the long term (and save you money in the end).

Donia Hilal is a certified nutritionist with a degree in Nutrition from King’s College London. Her work focuses on women’s health in the Middle East, wellness, weight loss, and optimal pre- and post-natal nutrition. Passionate about real food and evidence based nutrition advice, Donia welcomes and enjoys guiding clients throughout every stage of their journey towards a healthier, happier life.

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