According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 33.8% of Americans are obese. In the past 2 decades, the dramatic increase in obesity has led to not one state in America having less than a 20% prevalence for obesity in 2010. Along with skyrocketing rates of obesity are the increase of weight-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and strokes. In fact, according to WebMD.com, obese individuals are 40% more likely to succumb to premature death than a person of normal weight. With such startling numbers, it's no surprise that many people are searching for diets that are quick and effective - one of which is the new controversial hCG Diet.
Recently discussed on The Dr. Oz Show, the hCG Diet has been termed the Weight Loss Miracle by many, with promises of weight loss of 40 pounds in 40 days. FDA approved for fertility, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone naturally secreted in pregnant women. While not approved for weight loss, many physicians across the nation have prescribed the hCG diet for patients seeking to lose a large amount of weight. Physicians and patients alike are divided on the efficacy and safety of the diet, thus causing the controversy surrounding the hCG Diet.
The concept of using hCG as an appetite suppressant is not new: it was first studied by Dr. ATW Simeons in the 1950s, who found that small amounts of the natural hormone hCG injected in either male and female patients would suppress their appetites to encourage weight loss in his overweight patients. Today, this medical weight loss system not only includes hCG that a physician must prescribe, it is also paired with a 500-calorie per day restrictive diet. The hCG diet is under heavy scrutiny, questions of whether or not hCG truly suppresses appetite or is it the fact that patients are consuming less than 1/4th of recommended daily caloric intake that causes the tremendous weight loss.
Physicians who prescribe hCG for weight loss believe the diet is effective and that the hormone does suppress appetite. According to Boca Raton hCG provider Dr. Janee Steinberg, "There is controversy about almost any diet, and the general public usually says, "Anyone on a 500 calorie diet will lose weight, but it is not safe to do this.' However, on 500 calories with HCG twice daily, patients are not hungry, not tired, do not experience headaches, and actually feel much more energetic, and healthier than they have ever felt. It is indeed difficult to totally explain everything that goes on in the human body, and everyone is so different, but so far, we have not had any treatment failures with our protocol."
In terms of whether or not subsisting on a 500-calorie per day diet is sustainable, Dallas hCG provider Dr. Kevin Light says the hormone hGC communicates with the part in the brain that controls fat metabolism and storage - telling it to burn fat instead of protein when calories are cut down so significantly. Thus, according to Dr. Light, since the patient is using up fat stores as energy while the hCG is suppressing appetite, a 500-calorie per day diet can sustain the body. "The net effect is a weight loss that can range from half a pound to two pounds per day. Patients routinely lose 25 - 30 pounds with this program," states Dr. Light, "This effect is seen in both men and women and functions only to change the way your body handles excess fat."
Along with the controversy surrounding the hCG diet is the surge in the marketplace of products that claim to contain the natural hormone. These can be drops or pills but be wary of any hCG product that is not prescribed by a physician. Most, if not all, do not contain the hormone at all or if they do, they lack the proper amount of hCG to actually work. Dr. Steinberg stresses the importance of seeing a trained physician and attending weekly follow-up sessions that monitor progress. "HCG has been very safe when supervised by a physician. It should not be purchased over the internet or in gyms or tanning salons," she says.
And not everyone should be on the hCG diet. Dr. Steinberg says, "Certain patients are not candidates at all. Blood tests can be monitored and we find in many cases that cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose decrease to the point of decreasing or discontinuing drugs for these problems."