Most everybody has a few pounds (or more) they want to lose, and losing it quickly is usually the preferred speed. The crash diet fad is a billion dollar industry that produces a new quickie fat-fix every other day, and hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is one of the latest rages. With even Dr. Oz giving it airtime, it must do something, right? Let’s look at hCG’s history first.
HCG is a hormone created by the human body during pregnancy to maintain fetal viability in the first trimester, but some studies involving malnourished women and men with endocrine issues suggested that hCG could be used for weight loss. Researchers noticed a difference in where the weight was lost; those with higher levels of hCG lost more adipose (excess) fat and less muscle mass, so hCG was quickly embraced by the bodybuilder community as a way to carve away fat stores for that super-lean competition look. It had an added bonus of offsetting the testicular shrinkage that happens with anabolic steroid use.
Using hCG for weight loss was the next logical step, and the “hCG diet” hit the scene, consisting of a carb-free, 500 calorie diet and hCG injections. Since then, the hCG market has exploded – now you’ll find hCG pills and liquid supplements with all the other weight loss products, and often at very expensive prices. Before you go spending your money on a quick hCG fix, consider these facts:
- Science says it doesn’t work - Scientific studies on the effects of hCG and weight loss showed no difference between using hCG or not while on the 500-calorie diet. Furthermore, all assumptions about hCG’s ability to mobilize fat reserves to burn them was based on observation, not a double-blind study.
- HCG cannot be absorbed orally - The hormone is too big of a protein to be absorbed by mouth or intestinal mucosa, and the only way to administer it is via injection, like anabolic steroids. So pills or sublingual hCG can’t get into the bloodstream to burn that fat.
- Anyone on a 500-calorie diet will lose weight, no matter what you inject yourself with – be it filet mignon or Twinkies, a calorie is a calorie, and that is a scientific measure of energy. Any claims of hCG resetting your metabolism to burn only fat are false. On a starvation diet, you are resetting your metabolism – to a grinding halt. Any weight lost will likely come back.
What it comes down to is this: hCG is a pregnancy hormone designed for pregnant women, not those looking to lose weight. Until that magic bullet is really found, the best weight loss option is still to cut back on calories, junk food, and sugar.
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