All of a sudden I am seeing and hearing everywhere about this new (actually old) hCG diet. The gist of it is you trick your body into thinking you are pregnant by injecting yourself with human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, which was first discovered in 1927. With the presense of hCG, your body (in theory) releases fat surpluses to go to the fetus (that doesn’t actually exist). Men can also use the diet. Dieters are supposed to lose 1 to 2 pounds a day on the diet.
Discovery Health wrote a comprehensive article explaining how the hCG diet works. Check out the link to read all the details. (It is several pages long.)Below is some highlights from the article to help explain this complicated diet.
How the hCG affects your body according to Discovery Health:
“We aren’t ravenous for fatty foods for no reason. Our bodies like to maximize caloric intake in case lean times are ahead. In the case of women, excess calories tend to wind up in “problem” areas such as the hips, buttocks, abdomen and thighs. However, once pregnant, fat from these areas is released in the presence of hCG, and this fat then makes its way to the fetus. This way, if a woman doesn’t consume the nutrients needed for fetal growth, her fat reserves will suffice. (Structural fat, such as that found in the face or layered beneath the entire skin, isn’t affected.)”
“HCG is produced by a woman early in her pregnancy, and levels of hCG in the bloodstream peak at around 14 weeks. After that, levels gradually decrease. HCG’s presence in a pregnant woman seems to occur in the timeframe when a woman would be least likely to know she is pregnant, and therefore least likely (especially in ancient — and leaner — times in human history) to be consciously trying to secure nutrients to sustain a pregnancy.”
How the diet works according to Discovery Health:
“Each round of treatment lasts a minimum of 26 days, and 23 of those days require a daily injection of hCG. Treatment may last as long as 43 days (with 40 injections), unless a patient loses 34 to 40 pounds (15 to 18 kilograms) before the allotted time has passed. Patients don’t receive hCG injections for the last three days of any treatment period so that it can cycle completely out of their bodies before they resume a normal diet. (It also takes about three days for hCG’s effects to “kick in.”)”
“Why stop after 40 days? (A.T.W.) Simeons noted that subjects seemed to develop immunity to hCG after 40 days and required a six-week break from the diet to fully resensitize to it. Simeons recommended no more than four total treatments, separated by breaks.”
“In addition to receiving shots, dieters are instructed to cut their daily intake of calories to 500 a day, but not until after the third shot. Once the hCG is active in a dieter’s body, its release of long-stored fat provides the body with the calories it needs to burn to get through a day (a day, it should be noted, without much exercise). As long as fat deposits are being released for use, the 500 daily calories being ingested is supposed to be enough to sustain the dieter without the crazy hunger pangs one would normally experience on a 500-calorie diet. Once a dieter drops the excess weight, the treatment must stop, because hCG only affects stored fat. Once that’s used up, the body will quickly reject a self-imposed limit of 500 total daily calories.”
What does the FDA say about it:
The FDA doesn’t approve taking hCG for anything other than to help you really get pregnant. But as long as you have a doctor willing to write you a prescription for it, you can use it.
Some health risks of using the hCG are : increased risk of blood clots, headaches, restlessness and depression. You may also feel like you’re pregnant — swelling, breast tenderness and water retention. HCG can also cause a potentially life-threatening condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
hCG versus the placebo:
Discovery Health reports that most independent, peer reviewed studies have found no difference in weight loss between a dieter using hCG or a placebo. One study showed both groups reported major hunger pangs, which the hCG is supposed to prevent.
So what do you think about tricking your body into thinking you are pregnant to help release fat stores? Did you notice when you were pregnant actually getting thinner? (I have actually noticed that on heavier friends. Their faces, arms and necks got thinner when they were pregnant.)
What do you think of injecting (I was told there were other methods of getting the hCG but I didn’t see that mentioned in the articles I read.) hCG into your body? Would it weird you out if you were a man?
Have you done this diet? Did it work? Would you try it?
Does this type of diet send any messages to our kids or teens? (It strikes me as similar to weight lifters using human growth hormones. Is anyone else seeing that similarity?)
– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajc.com Momania