HCG or human chorionic gonadotropin is a glycoprotein hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy. Its main function is to sustain the growing fetus during the early months of pregnancy.
The HCG Diet is not a new fad. It was introduced to the market by Dr. A.T. Simeons way back in 1954. The program consists of a very low caloric diet combined with HCG oral drops.
HCG does not directly cause the weight loss.
During starvation mode or periods of low caloric intake, the body tends to conserve fat for future use. It is this fat that is the hardest to get rid of.
With HCG intake, it is believed to mobilize stored fat and utilize this for energy through a process called Ketosis. It claims to target problem areas such as the thighs and buttocks.
Rebecca Singson, a physician, golfer and entrepreneur, has been on the HCG diet for almost a year. She swears by its benefits. "I have not only lost weight, I feel stronger and healthier. With my hectic lifestyle, HCG is all I need to get me through my busy day. I don't even feel hungry."
While some people attest to its effectivity. Others are just a little harder to convince.
Dr. Andrew Kaunitz, the Associate Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Florida looked into HCG's long and controversial past.
In the 1950's, Dr. Simeons introduced HCG injections with a strict 500-calorie per day diet.
By the 1970's, the HCG diet became very popular with claims of rapid weight loss and minimal hunger among users.
It soon lost its appeal when a meta-analysis in 1995 concluded that "There is no scientific evidence that HCG is effective in treating obesity. The weight loss associated with this particular regimen occurred because of the strict very low caloric diet, not because of the HCG injections."
Keep in mind that an average person requires 1800 to 2000 calories per day for ordinary daily activities. So restricting your intake to just one-fourth of what is required will drastically lower your weight.
The American Society of Bariatric Physicians released a statement in 2010: "The Society is officially not recommending HCG injections for weight loss."
Despite all the evidence against Dr. Simeons' theory, the HCG diet is back!
And people are getting into the bandwagon.
Remember that there is no magic pill or potion to lose weight. The best way towards your dream body is a combination of lifestyle modification, exercise and proper eating habits.
As of this writing, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission have banned HCG-containing diet products.
The agencies have ordered all manufacturers to stop selling these drugs because they are deceiving the public.
Ms. Elizabeth Miller, acting director of the FDA's fraud unit said " It is the recommended diet of 500 calories per day that makes the person lose weight not the HCG. This low caloric intake may even cause more harm leading to malnutrition, electrolyte imbalance, cardiac arrhythmias and gallstone formation."
HCG is being sold as a homeopathic remedy. According to Richard Cleland, assistant director of the FTC's advertising division, whether they use the word "homeopathic" or not, sale of HCG products is illegal because it has not been approved by the FDA.
He further states that It is very unfortunate but it is true that " the weight-loss industry is fad-driven but all too often, it is also fraud-driven."