There is a new diet on the market which uses a protein based hormone, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), to boost rapid weight-loss over a short period of time. HCG is produced in large amounts when a woman is pregnant and it is responsible for feelings of nausea often linked with pregnancy.
The hormone is administered through oral-drops or injections and claims to control hunger cravings and binge eating in overweight individuals. The diet promises to help people shed weight at a rate of up to 30 pounds per month. There are hundreds of people around the world who are flocking to try this new diet craze, which signifies that it is effective. But what are the long-term implications of this style of dieting?
The HCG hormone diet is accompanied by a very detailed eating plan. The strict diet plan has three phases.
Phase I is the easiest for people to complete because it requires the dieters to binge in order to store fats which will help them to survive the rest of the diet.
This honeymoon period does not last long and, in Phase II, the calorific intake is dramatically slashed to a mere 500 calories a day. The average women should consume no less than 1200 calories a day in order to lose weight; this drastic cut in calories is well below a safe calorie deficit.
I chugged down a cup of coffee with a friend who was suffering through Phase II and she looked drained and exhausted which only added to her bad-tempered demeanour. There have been other reports of people becoming aggressive, confused, exhausted and sluggish during Phase II. Exercise is not recommended while in Phase II of this diet due to low energy levels.
Phase III is the re-feeding phase in which the dieter increases their calorie intake to 1200 calories per day. The body is incredibly efficient in keeping a person alive and, when calorie deficits dip too low, the body will go into survival mode in order to ensure that it has enough energy to perform basic bodily functions– which include keeping the heart beating, the lungs breathing and all other involuntary bodily functions working.
Once a person comes out of an extreme calorie deficit, the body will hold onto any energy it can and will store food as fat because it does not know when it will receive the energy again. This third phase results in dieters picking up the weight they had lost accompanied by extra kilograms.
There is no proof that the HCG hormone has any effect on weight-loss during this diet. It has been proven that a person will drop the same amount of weight if they purely follow the restrictive eating plan.
This style of dieting promotes an obsessive relationship with food and weight-loss and has been proven to be ineffective as a long-term weight-loss solution. Weight-loss can be achieved through a balance of healthy eating and an exercise plan. Any diet which makes the dieter too exhausted to exercise should not be considered healthy and will not result in satisfaction in the long run.