Among the many fad diets that periodically do the rounds is the HCG diet, and like all fad diets it works beautifully for some people but can, at the same time, be dangerous. In this diet, the hCG hormone is injected into the dieter who then eats only 500 calories each day, for 40 days and in this way may achieve weight loss of up to 30 pounds a month.
This is supposed to help one lose stored fat in the body, without feeling the extreme hunger pangs that such a low calorie diet would otherwise cause.
This diet may have caught on in a big way in recent times, but it was way back in the 1950’s that it was discovered by British endocrinologist A.T.W. Simeons, that hormone was able to rid people of certain body fat deposits.
It may be noted that hCG is a fertility hormone and the FDA doesn’t approve of any use being made of it, except with regard to fertility.
In fact, the vast popularity of the diet caused the FDA to make a statement that the so called ‘homeopathic hCG’ being peddled in the market is illegal and fraudulent if it is sold as a weight loss aid.
As for the injection of the actual hormone, this is not illegal but it is deceptive since there is no evidence to show that it can actually help with weight loss.
At least one medical health professional from the Harvard Medical school has decried the diet, calling it not just reckless and irresponsible but also irrational.
Also clinical studies have shown that when people ate the severely calorie restricted diet, they lost weight anyway, whether they were given the hCG injection or the placebo.
So clearly even if the diet proves to be effective for some, this is not a good way to lose weight, and cannot be any substitute for good old healthy nutrition and effective exercise.