The hCG diet has swept the nation by storm over the past 3 or 4 years, but what's the truth about all of the hype? Is it safe or even effective? Let's talk about how this diet works and if it's for you.
What is the hCG Diet
There are a lot of crazy claims out there when it comes to fad diets. Losing weight without even trying isn't really a major surprise when you hear this come up in any type of weight loss marketing on TV. It's the norm. So is that what the HCG diet is about?
hCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin and is a natural hormone that the body produces during pregnancy. The process for this diet is that you go to an hCG center and get a shot, or simply take a homeopathic product that can be purchased at a local store, like sprays, pellets or even oral drops.
The problem with the hCG diet is that it limits your caloric consumption to 500 calories per day. This is very low, which isn't far from fasting. This diet will also last up to 8 weeks. Many researchers believe that the low calorie consumption is the reason for the rapid weight loss, and not the hCG itself.
Some key points about the hCG diet:
- You can purchase "homeopathic" products at local stores
- Or you can find a local health care provider that can give you an hCG shot
- This diet limits your caloric intake to only 500 calories per day
- The diet lasts for 8 weeks (each day consisting of 500 calories)
- Research has shown nothing to indicate that this diet actually works
- Not FDA approved for weight loss
- Each meal needs to include a protein, (a) veggies, one bread and one fruit.
- Most fish is not allowed
- Broiled or grilled beef, chicken breast, white fish, crab, shrimp or lobster is okay with no visible fat
- Veggies: spinach, green salad, tomatoes, chicory, oniones, fennel, asparagus, cucumbers, chicory, chard and cabbage
- Bread: a breadstick or one piece of melba toast
- Fruit: apple, orange, strawberries or half a grapefruit
- No sugar allowed
- No butter or oils allowed
These are just some of the details of an hCG diet, which means that it's pretty difficult to sustain for 8 weeks. However, if you're able to eat like this for 8 weeks, you will definitely lose some fat, especially if you can keep up a decent workout regimen.
Is the hCG Diet Worth the Effort
Yes and no. Look, at 500 calories you could easily drop a lot of fat. You're basically taking the idea of fasting and just adding an extremely limited amount of calories. This is very difficult at times, maybe even more difficult than a fast for many, simply because once you have food you always want more. At least that's how it works with the majority of people who have weight issues.
Personally, I would suggest trying out intermittent fasting for a few weeks instead, unless you have tried without much success. IF (intermittent fasting) is a great way to limit intake of calories, but also allow your body to burn off those calories and even get a break from digesting that food a bit longer than usual.
If you want to go the more brutal route, then definitely try a 24 hour fast to see how you feel, then you can even attempt a few days a week while also integrating intermittent fasting during days you eat. You can read more about that above.
hCG costs money for shots that are unproven to work. The lack of calories are what increases your chances to lose weight fast. This is really the only reason you will lose that weight, in my honest opinion. I don't believe in magical pills or 'natural weight loss cures'. You get what you put into your diet. If you put fat (fats, calories and carbs) into your diet, you get fat out of it. That's the reality.
Skip the hCG and try intermittent fasting, or even water fasting.