While it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the HCGdiet is legal with a doctor’s prescription in all fifty states. This diet involves severe caloric restrictions. People eat no more than 500 calories per day while following Dr. Simeons’ protocols, which under normal circumstances could be dangerous to one’s health. However, it is important to understand that that the HCGdiet is quite safe and highly effective because of the way it works.
What Is HCG?
“Human Chorionic Gonadotropin” is a hormone that is produced during pregnancy. Its primary purpose is to protect the fetus from losing nutrients to the mother’s body in times of food shortages while assisting her in effectively metabolizing the nutrients required during the pregnancy. Some of this remains in the bodies of males and females after they are born, although it is gradually depleted by the time people reach maturity.
How Does It Work?
When administered to adults as part of a weight loss program, it can result in dramatic weight loss by reprogramming the hypothalamus gland (the part of the brain that controls metabolic processes) to make adipose fat deposits available to the body as an energy source.
This addresses one of the main concerns about HCG safety, which is the danger of malnutrition that can result from such a low-calorie diet. Although a person on the HCGdiet will only be ingesting 500 calories per day, the fact is that his/her body will actually be operating on a full 1500 – 2,500 calories per day. This happens because the HCG forces the hypothalamus to dip into fat stores in order to make up the deficit.
The result is the loss of up to two pounds per day.
Are There Side Effects?
In rare cases, some people experience headaches while on the HCG diet. Other reported side effects in some individuals include water retention and feelings of irritation, restlessness or even depression. A few people who use the injectable form of HCG may experience some pain and/or inflammation at the injection site.
Other rare – but potentially serious – side effects may include ovarian hyper-stimulation in women as well as an increased likely of a woman having a multiple pregnancy (such as twins). HCG has been known to bring on precocious puberty (premature onset of adolescence) in male children as well.
Very few individuals suffer these side effects, however. It is nonetheless still a good idea to have the counsel of a qualified physician when on the HCGdiet, and to notify this doctor should you feel anything unusual while on the program.