The HCG Diet Controversy

The HCG Diet Controversy

HCG Diet

This is a question we are getting more and more these days, so here you’ll find out if we offer it and why or why not.

For those of you who haven’t yet heard, the HCG diet has recently grown in popularity.  In short, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (or HCG) is a hormone produced during pregnancy.  With the HCG diet, this hormone is taken daily (through injections, droplets, or by other means) and you are required to follow a 500 calories per day diet.   The 500 calories per day are made up of a very short list of foods you are “allowed” to eat.  Proponents of this diet claim that you can lose up to 1 lbs per day without feeling tired or weak, and that it will “reset your metabolism.”  They claim that the HCG injections help to suppress your appetite, making the extremely low calorie diet more tolerable.

These claims would peak the interest of most anyone, especially those who have tried other programs to lose weight and haven’t  reached their goals.  Whenever considering a new diet program, it’s important to evaluate the proven effectiveness of the program and even more so when it includes hormone injections.  So that’s exactly what we did.

First, we looked to the FDA’s stance on the diet.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any HCG products for weight loss.  According to the FDA:

“HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity.  There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.”

Furthermore, serious adverse events associated with HCG have been reported to the FDA.  These include cases of pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lung), depression, cerebrovascular issues, cardiac arrest, and death.

Extremely low calorie diets, even when medically supervised, rarely dip below 800-1000 calories per day.  At 500 calories per day, it likely isn’t possible to get the variety of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein that your body needs.  Not only can this create inefficiencies, deficiencies and other health-related issues, but it can result in increased loss of muscle mass.  Losing muscle mass can be detrimental to overall weight loss goals and overall health.  The preservation of muscle mass is important for success in weight loss and in the maintenance of that loss.

After reviewing the body of scientific evidence on the use of the HCG diet for weight loss, and weighing the risks and the benefits of HCG use, Olivera Weight Loss has decided not to offer the HCG diet.

Olivera Weight Loss offers an FDA-approved appetite suppressant proven to improve weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.  Nutrition Consultations and dietitian-led group weight loss programs are also proven, effective services offered at an affordable cost at Olivera Weight Loss.  Follow the respective links for more information on each of these services, visit our services page or contact us.

Authored by Cassandra Towns, RDN, LDN, CD, CLC



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