HCG Diet: Is It Safe?

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HCG DIET

Go on a simple diet for 30 days and lose one or two pounds each day. Sounds like a dream for anyone who has struggled with a lifestyle change like weight loss ... right?

The latest in controversial weight loss solutions, the HCG diet includes taking a dosage of the HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin) hormone each day -- either orally or by injection -- and coupling it with a diet of 500 calories or less. Most HCG diet plans suggest that dieters eat only a few ounces of meat and vegetables, as well as one serving of bread, each day. The hormone itself is supposed to quell hunger and prevent the body from going into "starvation-mode."

The HCG hormone, which is naturally produced by pregnant women, is already used to treat fertility issues in women and endocrine disorders in pre-pubescent boys. Doctors and nutritionists remain split on whether the HCG diet is effective in the long-term and if it's even medically safe to begin with (HCG is not FDA approved for weight loss). Those who promote the diet tout weight loss effectiveness as the bottom line. However, those speaking out against it point out that anyone only consuming 500 calories a day would lose weight -- as well as losing out on necessary nutrients.

"It's reckless, irresponsible, and completely irrational," Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, told U.S. News and World Report about the HCG diet. "Can you lose weight on it? Of course, but that's mainly because you're hardly consuming any calories. And any benefit is not going to last."

So, do you think that this diet sounds safe? Is it worth the risk, especially for individuals who need to make an extreme lifestyle adjustment for health reasons? Or, should we all just be sticking to tried and true (albeit often slow) methods of weight loss -- a balanced diet and exercise?

We asked some of our readers and here's what they had to say:

Tenisha F.
No way would I try this. Although I hear that the HCG comes in pill form now instead of injectables. Still ... the idea of taking pregnancy hormones and only eating 500 calories a day is extremely creepy.

Melissa S.
The HCG diet was nothing short of an amazing, fulfilling experience for me. I do believe this diet is ONLY recommended to those who have at least 20 pounds to lose.

Pat M.
Just move more eat less ...

Shanna P.
Are you kidding me? You are starving yourself! I have seen men and women lose 110 - 180 pounds all with hard work, watching what they eat and EXERCISE! They do not even have all the studies out to REALLY know what this does to the body! Plus 9 out of 10 times, if people do not really know what it is that got them to an unhealthy weight, they will repeat those habits.

Gina H.
I did the HCG diet in drops form and it was the best thing that I have ever done. My eating habits are better now and I have kept off the weight with an exercise program and eating healthy. I now live a better, more active lifestyle.

Pam S.
I lost weight the old fashioned way -- eating better and exercising! And I've kept it off for 19 months so far.

Sharan K.
No way. Eat sensibly and stay active and you'll be laughing. And long-term you save money!

Marta A.
I was totally fine on 500 calories and HCG spray -- even during CHRISTMAS! I did the diet during the holiday season on purpose! You don't miss anything and your head is resetting what your body needs vs. wants. I lost 27 pounds in 41 days and have kept it off for four months and counting.

Laura F-G.
Naturally everyone wants to take the easy way out ... regardless of the health effects. I find it truly sad that so many people refuse to work hard for what they want. I have lost 92 pounds the "old fashioned" way -- I work hard and eat right. Plain and simple. Everyone wants to be thin, but really shouldn't being healthy be the goal? People on this diet are basically replacing their lean muscle with fat and slowing down their metabolism. That is exactly the opposite of what you want to do when trying to lose weight! People need to put the junk food down, get off the couch and stop trying to do everything the easy way.

Deanna H.
I have lost 20 pounds so far on the HCG diet! It has helped improve my hypothyroidism and I'm feeling great! I did the drops!

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