The HCG diet or hCG diet is an extreme diet where participants can only eat 500 calories per day. This is less than half of the daily calorie intake that doctors recommend. HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotrophin, hormone pregnant women make. Followers of the diet either drink an extract made from the urine of pregnant women or they inject themselves with the hormone. The hormone supposedly suppresses the appetite.
According to proponents of the HCG diet, people can lose up to 2 pounds per day following it. But there have been absolutely no clinical studies to back up this claim. Anyone considering this diet should be aware of the HCG diet dangers. These dangers are so extreme that some HCG diet products were banned in the United States.
Too Few Calories
The main HCG diet dangers are from complications of eating too few calories in order to survive. This leads to a wide variety of symptoms caused from malnutrition, including bodily aches and pains, migraines, severe diarrhea, fainting and mood swings. Prolonged exposure to malnutrition can lead to chronic problems such as osteoporosis, infertility and internal organ damage. These HCG dangers could kill you.
In order to stay healthy and lose weight, men should consume 2200 calories while women need 1200 calories per day. Pregnant women or people that are very active may need to eat more calories. Men over the age of 51 have a slower metabolism and should cut their calorie intake back to 1900 per day. If unsure about how many calories per day you need to consume, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist.
Losing the Wrong Kind of Weight
Other very real HCG diet dangers include losing muscle mass instead of fat deposits. Anyone on a fast first loses water weight and then the body begins to eat its own muscles before it begins digging into any fat deposits. This is one reason why dieters are encouraged to also exercise, in order to maintain muscle tone and strength.
And this leads to another of the glaring HCG diet dangers – dieters will not be able to keep the weight off. As soon as they stop the diet and begin eating normally again, they will usually put back on all of their lost weight. In practical terms, it’s impossible for a person to stay on the HCG diet for the rest of their lives and not need hospitalization. So, going off of the diet is inevitable.
Your body and life aren’t the only things susceptible to HCG diet dangers. Your wallet and bank account are, too. The hormone is extremely expensive. Injections or homeopathic drops can cost hundreds of dollars per month. These need to be taken or swallowed every day along with following the greatly restricted calorie diet.
Institutions like the Cleveland Clinic and the American Medical Association point out that there is absolutely no proof that dieters even need the expensive hormone in order to lose weight. They point out that anyone placed on a diet of only 500 to 550 calories per day will have to lose weight because they are not consuming enough calories to accomplish daily tasks.