Shortly after graduating college I applied for a job at a metabolic weight loss center. When I pulled up to the building I noticed a sign that said something along the lines of "Lose 10 lbs in one week!" That was the first red flag. During my interview the owner of the clinic told me about their method of weight loss: injections of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and 500 calorie diets. That was the 2nd and final red flag. He told me they had a medical doctor on staff and that the diet was a safe and "natural" way to lose weight. After researching HCG when I got home that day, I called the owner and declined the job.
HCG is a hormone that is produced in the urine during pregnancy. It's claimed to suppress appetite and trigger the body to use fat as fuel. Along with HCG injections or oral drops, participants are placed on a 500-800 calorie diet.
HCG has never been proven to aid in weight loss. The FDA has not approved HCG and has advised consumers not to buy this over-the-counter drug. The FDA has even warned companies selling HCG that they are breaking the federal law since HCG is not approved and the labels make unsupported claims.
So why are so many people on the HCG bandwagon? Because anyone on a 500-800 calorie diet will lose weight - initially. This is NOT a sustainable diet. It is impossible to provide your body with the carbohydrates, fats, protein, fiber, and vitamin and minerals that you need every day in this minute amount of calories. When calories are severely restricted, the body first uses fat, then muscle. Muscle is what keeps your metabolism revved up and is the last thing you want to lose when trying to lose and keep weight off. Usually, when people drop weight rapidly by starving themselves, they end up gaining it all back as fat. When the body is in long-term starvation mode, there can be more adverse effects such as gallstone formation, improper muscle and nerve function, irregular heartbeat, and many other effects.
If starvation and pregnant ladies urine doesn't sound appealing to you, lose weight the old-fashioned, healthy way! There is no quick-fix to losing weight and keeping it off permanently. Eat all food groups based on the dietary guidelines and exercise. The dietary guidelines are based on scientific evidence from thousands of studies. Following the guidelines can lead to weight loss and will provide all the nutritional components your body needs. Click here to use the myplate.gov food tracker to discover how many calories and servings of each food group you need to lose or maintain weight the healthy way.