The hCG diet is a popular weight-loss plan that combines the use of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) injections or drops with a very low-calorie diet. HCG is a hormone that is naturally produced by the body during pregnancy. It is also available as a prescription medication to treat infertility.
The hCG diet was first developed in the 1950s by Dr. A.T.W. Simeons. Simeons claimed that hCG could help people lose weight by preventing the body from storing fat. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
How the hCG Diet Works
The hCG diet typically involves three phases:
- Phase 1: This phase lasts for 2-3 days and involves eating a very low-calorie diet of around 500 calories per day.
- Phase 2: This phase lasts for 21-42 days and involves following the same very low-calorie diet while also taking hCG injections or drops.
- Phase 3: This phase lasts for 3 weeks and involves gradually increasing calorie intake while continuing to take hCG.
Is the hCG Diet Safe?
The hCG diet is not safe or effective. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved hCG for weight loss. The FDA has also warned that hCG products can be dangerous and may cause serious side effects, such as:
- Flu-like symptoms: Fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and fever
- Heart problems: Irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and heart attack
- Depression: Anxiety, irritability, and mood swings
- Blood clots: Increased risk of blood clots in the legs, lungs, or brain
- Electrolyte imbalances: Abnormal levels of sodium, potassium, and other minerals in the blood
- Gallstones: Formation of gallstones in the gallbladder
- Skin problems: Rash, itching, and hives
In addition to the potential side effects, the hCG diet is also very restrictive and difficult to follow. The severe calorie restriction can lead to nutrient deficiencies, muscle loss, and a rebound in weight gain once the diet is stopped.
What to Do Instead of the hCG Diet
If you are looking to lose weight, there are many safe and effective ways to do so. The best way to lose weight is to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It is also important to limit your intake of processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats.
Exercise is also important for weight loss. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.
If you are overweight or obese, talk to your doctor about a safe and effective weight-loss plan that is right for you.