If you have been trying to lose weight, then you have probably heard about the HCG diet that has recently become wildly popular as a way to drop unwanted and stubborn fat fast. The claims associated with HCG, including the promise of losing several pounds a day while on a restricted diet that won’t cause hunger panes, sound incredible and almost unbelievable. However, talking with naturopathic doctors in Phoenix may lead you to conclude that the claims are, in fact, too good to be true. As many doctors will tell you, losing weight is often an uphill battle that requires determination, so it’s no surprise that dieters everywhere are constantly looking for that extra boost to keep them going and give them an edge. Unfortunately, your naturopathic doctor is likely to tell you the HCG won’t do it for you—and here’s why.
The hCG diet was first used for weight loss as early as the 1950s and purports that a hormone found in pregnant women, hCG, can help overweight and obese people shed pounds fast when used in conjunction with a low calorie diet. Dieters either inject the hormone daily or use homeopathic drops placed under the tongue and eat a scant 500 calories a day consisting of certain kinds of fruit, vegetables, and meat, all preferably organic. Adherents to the diet are not allowed any sugar and fat and are extremely limited on grains while they remain on the diet, which usually lasts anywhere from 25 to 45 days. The supposed secret to this dieting method is that even though you eat only 500 calories—which many medical and naturopathic doctors in Phoenix classify as near-starvation rations—the hCG hormone will keep you from feeling hungry because it unlocks fat stores and allows your body to process them.
There is very little scientific evidence that hCG is an effective appetite blocker or that it helps the patients of Phoenix naturopathic doctors who follow the strict diet to lose weight. Rather, most doctors and other health officials say that the reason many people on the diet lose weight is simply due to the fact that they are practically starving themselves. In fact, in January 2011 the Food and Drug Administration came out with a statement indicating that selling homeopathic hCG as a weight loss supplement constituted fraud and is illegal, furthering discrediting this so-called miracle weight loss solution.
Beside the FDA’s clear cut pronouncement, one of the reasons many medical officials and naturopathic doctors have reduced the amount of hCG they offer is the health risks associated with the severely restricted caloric intake prescribed by the diet. Because just 500 calories a day very rarely provides adequate nutrition, hCG dieters may put themselves at higher risks for musculoskeletal degeneration, gallstones, and electrolyte abnormalities, not to mention that people who remain on extremely low calorie diets for extended periods may also suffer premature death. While vitamin and mineral deficiencies are probably the most common risks taken by hCG users, the lack of studies verifying hCG as a weight loss aid or detailing its long term effects on the human body means that for most naturopathic doctors in Phoenix, the risks far outweigh the advantages.