The Pros and Cons of the HCG Diet

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

The human chorionic gonadotropin or HCG diet is a type of weight loss program that utilizes hormones to shed unwanted weight. The HCG hormone is typically used to boost fertility and pregnancy. This hormone is produced by the pituitary gland and is present in men and women.  The hormone works by re-distributing stored fat to other parts of the body.

Because HCG allows the body to access stored fat for fuel at a much faster rate, it encourages the burning off more fat. Instead of breaking down bone or muscle mass, the body is able to burn off stored fat for fuel. While some dieters swear by HCG diet, this weight loss program is very controversial because of its many drawbacks.

How the HCG Diet Works

The diet is as straightforward as they come. The diet is comprised of a strict, doctor-supervised diet and a shot of HCG hormone. The diet program is meant to reduce hunger pangs, fatigue, and moodiness.

The Pros of the HCG Diet

Suppresses the Appetite

HCG has the ability to suppress the appetite. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration allow physicians to prescribe HCG shots off-label as an appetite suppressant. The efficacy of the shots will depend on person’s response to the hormone. But usually, as long as it is paired with a low-calorie diet, HCG shot can reduce appetite effectively.

Rebalances the Hormones

There are cases wherein weight gain is caused by hormonal imbalance. Usually, the thyroid releases these hormones. HCG diet aims to restore the balance between hormones that affect a person’s weight.

Protects from Muscle Loss

Dieters who lost a lot of weight tend to lose muscle mass too. HCG diet promotes weight loss without causing muscle breakdown. According to health experts, the HCG’s ability to rebalance the hormones generated by the thyroid helps reduce muscle loss too. HCG puts the body in an anabolic state so muscles are continuously growing.

The Cons of the HCG Diet

Not FDA-Approved

Although the FDA permits physicians to prescribe HCG shots to control the appetite, this hormone is not recommended as a weight loss product. In addition, the FDA sent a warning about the health risks associated with HCG.

Limited Caloric Intake

The diet requires dieters to consume meals with extremely low calories. The low caloric content of these foods could lead to health problems like malnutrition. Certain types of foods are also banned from the diet, inhibiting dieters from eating foods that contribute greatly to the health.


Although you could lose a maximum of three pounds each day through the HCG diet, you will gain all the weight you lost when you go back to your usual diet. Why? The result of your weight loss is caused by the caloric restrictions and not of the hormone itself. In addition, HCG diet does not promote fat loss so the weight loss results are only temporary.

Annoying Side Effects

Because HCG diet is a type of rapid weight loss program, you can expect undesirable side effects such as headaches, fatigue, restlessness, enlarged breasts in men and allergic reaction.

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