THE HGC diet brings about weight loss by encouraging dieters to inject human chorionic gonadotropin (HGC), the hormone females produce when they are pregnant, before following a 500 to 1000 calorie diet.
The hormone is thought to cause the body to rely on fat already stored in the body for energy instead of storing new fat. The claim is that even those who aren’t pregnant will effectively unlock fat that has been stored for years in the body.
However, experts condemn the diet for being very dangerous.
“HCG may promote the utilisation of fat stores to feed the baby in pregnancies where calories are very restricted,” Lisa Hutson, a nutritionist at Spire Hull Hospital explained. This is why the diet restricts dieters to 500 calories per day.
“HCG is produced in the first trimester of pregnancy by the placenta, it stimulates the corpus luteum to continue production of progesterone & oestrogen; which prevents menstruation and supports the continued attachment of the embryo and fetus to the lining of the uterus,” she added.
Zoe Martin nutritionist for Discount Supplements said: “Previously, the HCG Diet was defined by a 500-1,000-calorie diet paired with daily injections of HCG to produce rapid weight loss results.
The diet has been condemned by both the FDA and the American Medical Association as dangerous and inappropriate.
Most companies selling HCG supplements have confirmed that the majority of their products are hormone free, according to Zoe, showing that the hormone itself isn’t what produces the weight loss results, but the reduced calorie intake.
In fact, the diet may actually lead to some very serious illnesses developing, according to Lisa.
“More commonly women taking HCG have develop ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome a life threatening condition with symptoms including severe pelvic pain, swelling of the hands or legs, stomach pain and swelling, shortness of breath, weight gain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, and urinating less than normal.”
Mr Omega 3, Tom Oliver, feels strongly about the diet. Telling the Express.co.uk: “Safe, no! Sustainable, no! Lose weight – absolutely!
Followers of the diet are sold drops to use on the tongue, but according to one expert this has no effect on the body what so ever.
Shona Wilkinson, Nutritionist at Superfood.uk said: “It is worth noting that HCG in injection form is the only way that has been shown to raise blood levels of HCG.
“Other ways such as drops and pills do not raise blood levels of HCG and would therefore be ineffective.
“The other reason that this diet may be successful is due to the severe calorie restriction. This is therefore unsustainable and the weight will just pile on again when you come off the diet – you cannot stay on this diet longterm.”
Lisa Hutson also added: “Many of the people who promote the HCG diet as effective do so quoting the research of Asher and Harper in 1973, which saw and increased weight loss in those being injected with HCG compared with placebo.
“Harper was an active practitioner of the HCG diet at the time of the trial. Stein and colleagues in 1979 tried to recreate the study and found no statistically significant in weight loss, percent of weight loss, hip and waist circumference, weight loss compared to placebo.”
It has recently been found that almost one in five children thinks that skipping one meal a day is a “healthy thing to do”, according to research published today.
Three quarters of children aged between 11 and 14 said they did not set a limit on the amount of sweets and chocolates they eat each day.
A total of 58 per cent also said they had “no limit” when it came to scoffing fried food – like chips or fried chicken – and ate until it was all gone rather than when they were full up.
The NHS provides a free weight loss guide to those hoping to shed some pounds.