Does the HCG Diet Work for Men?

Originally created in the 1950s, the human chorionic gonadotropin diet is a weight loss program that requires you to limit your caloric intake and take a hormonal HCG supplement. According to the book “The HCG Guidebook,” a daily HCG injection of approximately 125 to 200 international units combined with the required caloric restriction can result in weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per day. However, registered dietitian Jennifer Nelson of the Mayo Clinic states that no high-quality studies confirm the effectiveness of this diet for men or women. As with any diet, you should speak with a medical professional before starting the HCG diet.

Dietician talking to patient. (Image: Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

How the HCG Diet Works

Manufacturers of HCG supplements claim that small doses of HCG can decrease your appetite and help you lose inches around your hips, thighs, buttocks and stomach. Further, manufacturers claim that while you take HCG, your body will use your stored fat. The diet combines daily HCG injections with a severe caloric restriction diet, prescribing consumption of only around 500 calories per day. No scientific evidence exists that the HCG injections help you to lose weight. Men will typically lose weight resulting from the severe caloric restriction. However, consuming this quantity of calories per day is not safe and may result in nutrient deficiencies.

British Study

In 1995, the "British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology" published a study that found no scientific evidence that HCG effectively helps you to lose weight, reduce hunger or feel better. Additionally, the study found that HCG is not a clinically effective option to treat obesity. The study examined eight controlled and 16 uncontrolled trials designed to measure the benefits of using HCG to treat obesity.

Testimonials

The website Hcgdiet.com published a number of testimonials regarding the results of the HCG diet. Among those testimonials there are three from men. The first one affirms that he felt more energetic and didn’t feel as if he was dieting. He saw results after one week. The second testimonial comes from a man that claims to have lost 25 pounds in 14 days. The third testimonial comes from a man that claims a weight loss of 30 pounds using this diet, and he also reports improvement of other ailments including heartburn and elevated blood pressure. Other than random, unsubstantiated testimonials no clinical scientific evidence supports the claim that this diet will help men lose weight.

Side Effects in Men

Men may experience some adverse side effects with the HCG diet. The most predominant side effect associated with this diet and men relates to the prostate, which may become enlarged as a result of this diet. Another side effect of the HCG diet in men relates to growth around the breasts. Breast growth is a consequence of the increased estrogen levels resulting from the HCG injections. These side effects do not occur in most cases and should go away once you stop the diet. Because of these side effects, you should always have professional supervision during this diet.

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