What is the HCG Diet
The HCG Diet
In 1954, the British doctor Dr. Albert T.W. Simeons the so-called HCG diet. This is a reduction diet with a very low energy intake (500 kcal per day), which is combined with a daily HCG injection. The idea for this diet was based on his observation of Indian, pregnant women who, despite extremely low energy intake, lost more fat than muscle tissue and at the same time were very productive. He attributed this to the increased concentrations of HCG during pregnancy. He observed greater weight loss in his patients when they were given low doses of HCG injections in addition to extreme energy restriction.
According to Simeons, the goal of the HCG diet is weight loss by reducing depot fat, which primarily affects the hips, legs and arms, i.e. parts of the body where weight loss usually proves to be difficult and is particularly aimed at by women. The hormone administration should also cause a significantly lower feeling of hunger than with such a reduction diet without HCG intake. In addition, negative moods should be avoided during the diet.
The course of an HCG diet
The diet begins with 2 gourmet days to stimulate the metabolism. Everything that tastes good is allowed. In the following 3 weeks (diet phase) fat, carbohydrates and alcohol are avoided.
The HCG diet Diet in its original form contains extremely little energy (less than 500 kcal per day), but depending on the provider it can also contain 500 800 kcal per day. Fat, sugar, carbohydrates and alcohol are not allowed during the HCG diet. Together with the diet, those who want to lose weight receive small doses of the hormone HCG. Today, instead of injections, these are usually applied in the form of drops, tablets or nasal sprays. This promises a weight loss of 10% in the first 3 weeks. It is also advisable to take various dietary supplements. The hydration should be 2 liters and consist of mineral water or fresh spring water.
A modification of the HCG diet is that HCG Leptin Diet, in which radionic HCG (diet phase) and then for 23 days radionic (according to the scientifically not proven healing method "radionics") leptin is taken to stabilize the body weight (stabilization phase). The hormone-free leptin recommended here is intended to have a purely energetic effect and to increase lead to a faster feeling of satiety.
The HCG diet an overview of the scientific study situation
Various studies have been conducted over the past 60 years to investigate the possible effects of HCG on weight loss. There have been critical voices from science since the 1980s. The U.S. As early as 1976, the Food and Drug Administration stated that injections of the hormone HCG were neither safe nor effective for weight loss. There is no evidence that HCG, in addition to an energy-reduced diet, changes the fat distribution in the body or slows down the feeling of hunger. The weight loss is only due to the reduction in energy.
To the Effect of HCG on weight loss To investigate, a double-blind, randomized cross-over study was carried out on 202 patients in 1976. Body weight, skin fold thickness, drop-out rates including reasons for the drop-out and subjective patient feedback were recorded. At no point in the study were there any differences between the group receiving HCG and the placebo group with regard to these examined parameters (Young RL et al 1976).
A prospective, randomized, double-blind study carried out around the same time on 51 women between 18 and 60 years of age over 32 days examined the effects of an HCG diet vs. placebo. Each patient received the same diet, was weighed 6 times a week and advised by a scientist who administered the HCG injections. Laboratory analyzes were carried out at the beginning and at the end of the study. In the HCG group, 20 out of 25 people, in the placebo group, 21 out of 26 people completed the 28 injections. There were no differences in the number of injections received, in the decrease in body weight, decrease in percentage body weight, waist and hip circumference, weight loss due to injections or feelings of hunger. The authors concluded that HCG had no effect on body weight loss (Stein et al. 1976).
The effectiveness of the so-called Simeon's method has also been questioned by other scientists. In a human study, 40 mostly overweight women (20 per group) between the ages of 20 and 40 were treated with HCG or placebo for weight loss in a clinical, randomized study. Apart from the somewhat more frequent restlessness in the HCG group, no significant differences were observed between the two groups (Greenway et al. 1977).
A few years later, a study was carried out on 82 healthy, non-pregnant, premenopausal women for 28 days using a 500 kcal diet. The women were divided into 2 groups (intake and no intake) with regard to their intake of oral contraceptives (OC). In addition, a subgroup in each group received HCG injections (250 IU / day) over 21 days. The group without oral contraceptives in the subgroup (with / without HCG) consisted of 24 subjects. In the OC group, 13 subjects were treated with HCG and 16 without HCG. 5 people stopped the diet. All subjects felt very hungry during the first week (9-16%), which slowly subsided. No differences were observed between the groups. The groups without HCG (15-20%) got used to the diet better than those with HCG (2-12%). Serum electrolytes, urea, uric acid, creatinine and liver enzymes did not change in the various subgroups either. Slight differences only occurred for serum cholesterol and triglycerides. The authors of the study attributed the diet successes to motivation and good information, but not to HCG administration (Rabe et al. 1987).
In 1990, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the possible effects of HCG on weight loss. 40 obese women with a BMI over 30 kg / m2 received 5,000 kJ per day plus daily injections of table salt or HCG (6 times a week for a period of 6 weeks). At the beginning and at the end of the study, a psychological profile, the subjective feeling of hunger, the body size, the concentrations of fasting blood glucose and food logs were drawn up. The body weight was measured weekly. The subjects in the HCG group showed no differences in the parameters examined compared to the placebo group. The weight losses were comparable in both groups. The authors did not see any advantage in the HCG diet (Bosch et al. 1990).
A meta-analysis that methodologically evaluated all available studies on the HCG diet in 1995 came to the conclusion that there was no scientific evidence on the effect of the HCG diet for the treatment of obesity. The authors conclude that the diet neither reduces the feeling of hunger nor induces a feeling of wellbeing (Lijesen et al. 1995).
Further studies on the effects of HCG are no longer carried out because the substance is no longer approved for weight reduction and the associated study designs are no longer ethically justifiable.
Conclusion and nutritional evaluation
So far, there is no scientific evidence that the administration of the hormone HCG contributes to faster weight loss than an energy-reduced diet alone. Other effects propagated by proponents of the HCG diet, such as more fat loss than muscle loss, better mood or less feeling of hunger, have not yet been scientifically proven.
As early as 1987 the Drug Commission of the German Medical Association came to the conclusion that HCG has neither a "fat-mobilizing" effect nor an influence on appetite or feeling of hunger. The weight loss of overweight patients with HCG is not higher than with a hypocaloric diet and does not improve the condition during either a weight loss diet.
HCG is neither effective nor approved for the supportive treatment of diet-related obesity (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Drug Commission of the German Medical Association). This also applies to homeopathically produced remedies in the form of globules, drops or sprays.
When assessing the HCG diet, it should also be noted that undesirable effects can also occur. These include headaches, menstrual disorders, irritability, restlessness, depression, fatigue, edema, gynecomastia, ovarian cysts and pain at the injection site (Drug Commission 1987). In one case, the development of a thrombosis was associated with HCG (Goodbar et al. 2013). In another case, the injection of HCG not only caused a thrombosis, but also canceled the effect of the contraceptive pill (Thellesen et al. 2014).
Treatment with the hormone HCG for weight loss is therefore strongly discouraged.
Dr. rer. nat. Gunda Backes Dipl. Oec. troph.
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