The hCG diet was formulated by Dr. Simeons in the 1950s. hCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin. hCG is a hormone that helps to detect pregnancy in women. It is released early in pregnancy by the placenta. It is believed that hCG helps to utilize the nutrients that are stored in the fat stores, thereby providing nourishment to the fetus.
While following the 44-day diet plan, the dieter follows a high-calorie diet in the first two days of the loading phase. In the next three weeks following the loading phase, the dieter has to follow a 500-calorie diet. Foods rich in sugar and starch have to be avoided in this maintenance phase. In the stabilization phase that lasts for another three weeks, one doesn't need to take hCG drops or shots. The calorie intake is gradually increased from 500 to 800 calories in this phase. However, one needs to avoid excessive consumption of starch, sugar and fried foods. Though dieters may be able to lose weight by following this diet, it's extremely essential to know if the diet plan may give rise to side effects.
Side Effects in Female Dieters
First of all, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has not given its approval for the use of hCG for weight loss. Nutritionists and health experts have mixed opinions about the effectiveness of this diet. There's no denying the fact that this diet program has worked wonders for some, however, there are medical experts who believe that the weight loss has more to do with the low-calorie diet rather than the administration of hCG drops or injections. Following such a low-calorie diet can also give rise to certain side effects. Here are some of the common side effects that the female dieters may experience.
» Nutritionists also feel that the calorie intake is greatly restricted under this diet program. Though it is believed that hCG hormone may help in suppressing hunger pangs, the dieters are bound to experience food cravings due to the low calorie intake.
» Since the dieter is supposed to consume only 500 calories a day, one may suffer from a nutritional deficiency. Under such circumstances, one may experience weakness, lightheadedness and headaches.
» Other side effects in women could include depression, restlessness, water retention or mood swings.
» Those who inject hCG intravenously may develop skin rashes. Women who take hCG shots for weight loss could experience skin irritation or Itching. Temporary thinning of hair may also occur due to low calorie intake.
» Since hCG is mainly produced by women during pregnancy, those who are following this weight loss program might experience symptoms that are usually felt during the course of pregnancy. Breast tenderness, swelling in hands and feet and water retention are some of the side effects that might be experienced by women who are following this diet protocol.
» It may put women at a risk of developing a medical condition called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). The symptoms of this life-threatening condition include breathing difficulty, vomiting, nausea, excess urination and weight gain.
Note: It is believed that high progesterone levels during menstruation can adversely affect the ability of hCG hormone to burn fat. Female dieters must therefore avoid taking hCG drops or injections during their period. However, they must continue to follow the dietary guidelines during the periods. Women who wish to conceive in the near future must consult a gynecologist before they start following the hCG diet protocol.
Though following a low-calorie diet may help in burning the accumulated fat deposits, a healthier way to lose weight would be to inculcate healthy dietary habits and follow an exercise regimen. One cannot say for sure that every dieter would experience the aforementioned side effects as a lot will depend on one's body constitution. However, discontinue the diet and seek medical help if you do experience any of the aforementioned side effects.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.