Although the HCG diet has gained popularity in the past few years, the HCG diet dates to the 1950s. Columbia University explains that British doctor Albert T. Simeons was the first medical physician to experiment with HCG for dieting purposes. Even today, Dr. Simeons' diet protocol is still the foundation for the majority of HCG diets. Please discuss the HCG diet and your weight loss goals with a qualified medical doctor, not just an HCG weight loss clinic, if you are curious about this diet.
Dr. Simeons' original manuscript, entitled "Pounds and Inches," describes the HCG diet protocol in detail. There are two important components of the protocol. First, the diet calls for a total of 500 calories over just two solid food meals for lunch and dinner. Second, the daily protocol calls for one 125 iu injection of HCG. Dieters are allowed to stay on this protocol for no longer than 40 days. Water, tea and coffee are allowed in unlimited quantities on this diet.
The meal plan for the HCG diet protocol is easy to understand. Breakfast consists only of tea or coffee without sugar, but is optional. The Simeons protocol requires the exact same meal to be eaten for lunch and dinner. The solid food meal consists of 100 g, or about 3.5 oz,. of lean meat such as veal, beef, chicken breast, white fish or shellfish with all the visible fat removed. A single type of vegetable is included with the meal such as spinach, tomatoes, celery, radishes, cabbage or chard. One single breadstick or small piece of Melba toast, and an apple, orange, half grapefruit or handful of strawberries completes the solid food meal. This meal totals 250 calories and is eaten two times.
Malnutrition and Side Effects
At only 500 calories, the HCG diet protocol is considered a very low calorie diet. This is protocol is not without side effects. According to the University of Idaho in Coeur d' Alene, 500 calories is not even a sufficient amount of calories to support normal cognitive brain function or physical movement. Eating such a restricted diet will lower your thyroid function as your body is put into "survival" mode. Mayo Clinic also reports that headaches, fatigue, mood swings, gallstones, male breast enlargement and irritability are common side effects of the HCG diet.
HCG Is Not Effective For Weight Loss
The University of Idaho explains that through decades of research, there is no evidence that HCG is beneficial for weight loss. Both the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" and the "Journal of the American Medical Association" concluded that HCG is not effective as a weight loss aid. Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not approve HCG as a weight loss medication. HCG is only approved as a fertility and hormone replacement therapy treatment. Mayo Clinic states that any weight you lose while following Dr. Simeons protocol is simply from starving yourself and not from the HCG. Like most very low calorie fad diets, you are likely to gain all the weight back after you stop the diet.