CELEBRITY FANS: Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, Jenni Farley, Britney Spears
WHAT’S INVOLVED: HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, a naturally-occurring hormone produced by the placenta of pregnant women. It has a role in controlling metabolic function through the hypothalamus throughout pregnancy. The diet relies on the use of HCG hormone supplementation (drops, pills or injection), which are said to decrease one’s appetite. Combine this with a diet consisting of just 500 calories, and you can reportedly burn 3,500 to 4,000 calories of stored fat a day.
YOU WILL NEED:
- A stash of HCG hormone
- Food-measuring scales
- Calorie-counting guide book
- Pen and notebook to meticulously note down every one of your 500 calories
VERDICT: There is a legitimate concern over the quality of the HCG hormone being marketed. Nutrition expert Dr Jonny Bowden says, “This isn’t real HCG, which is a hormone only available by prescription and which needs to be taken by injection.” Meanwhile Jenni Farley, who sells the product on her website, proclaims, “HCG Drops are my key to keeping the weight off.”
Common side effects include headaches, mood swings, depression, blood clots, confusion and dizziness. Eek. Some women also develop a condition called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which causes swelling of the hands and feet - not a good look!
Ryan Penny, Clinical Nutritionist and Conditioning Coach for The Wellness Brothers, offers his advice: “’Lose weight fast’ - every eager weight-loser’s dream words. However, they should ring alarm bells rather than anything else. The HCG diet promises to be one of those ‘lose weight fast’ solutions. There are many people who swear by this diet and hormone treatment plan but the overwhelming majority of medical reports are critical of it. Any sort of hormonal intervention in the body needs to be managed with caution, as do very-low-calorie diets. Any diet suggesting an intake of less than 800 calories per day is one that poses a significant risk to health and therefore demands the supervision of a suitably qualified healthcare professional. When one’s weight-loss motto is, ‘wellness first and then weight loss’ - as mine happens to be - then the HCG diet is simply a non-starter.”
Have you tried this diet? If so, let us know what you think in the comment box below.