Author: Dr. Sonja N. Fung
You have probably all heard of the HCG diet being the next miracle cure for obesity and weight loss, but what else have you heard? Is it as beneficial as you have heard? What are the risks? Are you a candidate for the HCG diet? Here’s the 411 on HCG and how it came into the lime light.
What is HCG?
In the 1920’s, researchers discovered human chorionic gonadatropin or HCG. HCG is a hormone produced by women only during early pregnancy and peeks at 14 weeks. This is the hormone that is measured on urine pregnancy test strips. HCG works to sequester calories and nutrients for the fetus regardless of how much or how little the mother eats. How does this work? HCG is reported to selectively metabolize calories from areas with high fat stores, such as the abdomen, hips, and thighs.
How HCG was discovered for weight loss?
In the 1950’s a British doctor practicing in Rome, Dr. Simeons, found that young hypogonadal boys treated with HCG lost their excess weight by eating a lot less and without the accompanying hunger pangs. Inspired by this possible diet aide, he conducted a study on his overweight and obese patients using HCG along with a very low calorie (VLC) diet in which he found that his patients were able to lose significant weight in a short period of time without cravings or the angry and hungry “hangry” feeling. HCG is then used as a selective fat mobilizer and an appetite suppressant.
What is the HCG diet and how does it work?
The HCG diet, popularized by Trudou, has more merit than the author. The diet consist of a small amount of HCG given via injection or sublingual tablet daily along with following a strict very low calorie diet of 500 calories per day for a period of 23 days. During that period, your body will go into a fat burning, or ketotic, state which will shrink your fat stores from “problem areas” such as the abdomen or thighs. Your body will then use the calories from the fat to sustain your energy, giving you the ability to adhere to the VLC diet. Most patients report losing about 1-2 pounds a day. The maximum weight allowed to lose in a 23 day period is between 35-40 pounds. If the desired weight is not reached, another round can be completed after a 6 week resting period.
A word of caution; as with any prescription medication, HCG has side effects such as headaches, mood swings, depression, anxiety, insomnia, sluggishness, and weight rebounding. HCG should not be used during menstruation due to the potential for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a possible complication in in-vitro fertilization. People with serious medical issues such as severe heart disease and uncontrolled diabetes would not be a candidate for this treatment. Also, HCG is NOT FDA approved for weight loss. HCG is only approved as a fertility aide due to the increased number of cases of women on HCG getting pregnant. This diet would be advantageous for women having difficulty losing weight and getting pregnant. This being said, there have been very few reports of any adverse reactions to the HCG diet and many success stories.
From jump start to long term- Maintaining the weight loss by incorporating naturopathic medicine.
The HCG diet, along with naturopathic stress management, diet modification, and detoxification of toxins and pesticides, is a potentially powerful tool for people struggling with weight loss. Incorporating a stress management routine can also decrease the abdominal “pooch” created by chronic elevations of cortisol (stress hormone) in your body. Gentle detoxification before start of the HCG diet can minimize side effects of the pesticides and toxins being released from the fat stores. Don’t be a victim of the diet rebound. Using the HCG diet in addition to a complete naturopathic stress reduction and detoxification program can be used as a jump start for effective, lasting weight loss and optimal health.
Dr. Sonja Fung is a naturopathic doctor at the Live Well Clinic. If you are interested in HCG treatments and weight loss, go to www.livewellclinic.org or call 760-771-5970. Live Well Clinic is located at 78-900 Avenue 47, Ste 102 in La Quinta, CA.