The HCG diet promises quick weight loss but perhaps in a dangerous way. While the strategy is gaining a lot of attention, medical professionals are trying to steer the public clear of it.
Perhaps the only positive thing about this particular weight loss method is that the compound itself is quite accessible. HCG, otherwise known as human chorionic gonadotropin, is produced while a woman is pregnant. It is usually used to treat issues with infertility. Various forms of the hormone can be purchased almost anywhere online.
HCG compound not approved for over-the-counter sales
The FDA may not approve of many different effective natural remedies but it has good reason to disapprove of the HCG compound. Part of the reason for the Food and Drug Administration not allowing this substance to be sold over the counter pertains to how the diet works.
HCG diet basics
The first part of the diet requires you to gorge on fatty foods for two days. Once you have completed this part, you must restrict your calories to between 500 and 800 per day.
The extremely low calorie diet only takes place in the first three weeks as does taking the compound. The hormone, whether in drop or injection form, helps the body to metabolize fat. It also assists to suppress the appetite making it a little easier for you to limit the calorie intake.
During the next two phases, you can slowly increase the number of calories consumed. The middle phase is said to be when the body resets its metabolism. The third phase enables you to start eating as you normally would while not gaining back the weight.
Contradictions within theories and practices
Although the HCG diet is a method that virtually promises no additional weight gain after completing the three phases, there are theories that state otherwise. A low calorie diet slows down the metabolic rate. This means that when the body is given more calories, this food is not used up as quickly, therefore actually allowing you to put the pounds back on.
This weight loss strategy cannot retrain your eating habits. It is healthier to learn how to eat properly than to go back to previous eating habits that may have been the reason for needing to lose weight.
Also, the body needs a certain amount of nutrients. By limiting the level of food intake so severely, the body struggles to obtain the required vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other necessary components of a healthy diet. As a result, the body actually starves nutritionally, not just in the form of calories.
Possible side effects of a strict low calorie diet
A very low calorie diet can induce short term weight loss but it can also cause various unpleasant and potentially fatal side effects. It is possible for gallstones to appear, as well as an irregular heartbeat and electrolyte imbalance. An imbalance of electrolytes can cause malfunctioning muscles and nerves. Other side effects include hair falling out, skin becoming loose, mood swings, dizziness, and fainting.
Alternatives for healthy weight loss
Instead of using the HCG diet, it is healthier to lose weight by eating properly and by choosing an active lifestyle. Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in calories. It is possible to consume many of these, feel full, and lose weight. The same can be said about lean proteins such as poultry and fish. There are non-animal proteins to choose from such as nuts and seeds. These items are generally higher in calories but they come from good sources such as omega-3 fatty acids.
As for activity, walking is a nice start but there are certainly other types of exercise. You don’t have to stick to traditional forms of physical activity. You can be as creative as you like as long as you are active. As a bonus, being more creative, whether with exercise or meals can actually make losing weight more enjoyable.