HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin. It is a hormone produced only by a woman who is pregnant. Naturally it is part of the body’s systems that help nourish the growing fetus by breaking down excess fat in the mother’s body. The FDA has approved its use in medical treatments for fertility and as a Detoxing agent. It is not approved to be used for the purpose of weight loss and not advised to be taken as an ongoing supplement. Despite that it is a naturally occurring chemical produced by the body, it does have potentially severe side effects and should not be used without the consultation of a doctor.
What is the HCG Diet?
Since the 1950s doctors have been using HCG in some cases to help manage obesity. Since HCG in itself will not cause weight loss, but is useful in detoxifying the body by encouraging the body to burn through the fat reserves which can hold onto to toxins, it is combined with a special diet to also shed weight. The older plan calls for a drastic reduction in calories, around 500 a day, and taking regular doses of HCG through injection or sublingual droplet form. The entire diet was done in phases with parts repeated if a lot of weight loss was needed. The HCG was taken for around 45 days but the restricted diet continued on for another three weeks. Heavy exercising was sometimes added to encourage severe weight loss. If the diet needed repeating there was a rest of at least 3 weeks in between cycles.
Modern variations and improvements to the HCG diet have increased the caloric intake to 500-1,000 a day, removed the option of drinking unlimited amounts of coffee, and have favored using injections instead of supplemental drops over a shorter period and pattern of 28 days on and 4 weeks off. Exercising is also not advised beyond increased walking, as a strenuous routine on top of the diet can be harder on the body.
Does it really Work?
The HCG diet has been proven to help cleanse or detoxify the body and drop unwanted weight for some people. However, like a lot of diet plans, there a lot of people trying to sell it. With the increased number of sellers there is also an increase in inferior products that can increase the chance of harmful side effects. Also, as it is a precise diet and detoxing, it is extremely important that an established routine be used with only a credible supplier of HCG. The cheapest pricing is not going to always be the best choice. Research reviews for not only potential HCG products but the company who makes and sells them as well. Don’t be fooled by gimmicks that talk about HCG mixtures. The nature of the chemical makes it unstable when diluted into water and thus you will not get the appropriate amount. So, while it can be an effective weight loss and detox diet, aside from being cleared by your doctor to do it, you need to be sure you use a quality HCG product.
Pete Kontakos writes about health, fitness and sports among other things. You can join him on his Examiner Sports or Twitter.