Diets, diets everywhere…. As we prepare to commit to new health or weight loss schedule, many of us tend to take stock of our waistlines and make that resolution to lose a few pounds (or pants sizes).
A diet trend that has been widely talked about is the “HCG diet.” Before you consider using that for your New Years resolution, read this!
Weight gained or loss is a result of calories in (or eaten) vs. calories out (or burned). Eat more than you need, you gain weight. Exercise and a sensible diet
is truly the best way to care for your body. But what about when you can’t find time/motivation/energy to exercise but still want results? Many people have turned to “the HCG diet” to find results in recent years.
Nutrition is a subject that is sometimes overlooked in health courses. Whether future medical professionals take health science classes online or in the classroom, more than a few of them learn very little about the body’s nutritional needs. You may ask a doctor for advice about a diet program, but don’t necessarily expect a useful response. Programs like the HCG diet may not even be recognized by most doctors
HCG is a hormone naturally produced during pregnancy. Theoretically, using it as a supplement along with a restricted diet promotes rapid weight loss. The recommended calorie intake with this diet is a measly 500 calories a day. I was taught somewhere along the way that your brain, just your brain, needs 600 calories a day to do its job. Average caloric intake is 2000 calories a day, modified in small increments as needed for each individual person. The real truth is that a 500-calorie diet will produce a dramatic, but unhealthy, weight loss regardless of what supplement(s) a person is using.
HCG supplements sold over-the-counter are sometimes labeled as “homeopathic” meaning they have very small amounts of HCG in them, if any at all. These products are making claims for dramatic weight loss without the evidence, without the science to support these claims. Furthermore, the recommended diet along with these supplements can be dangerous. Extreme, restrictive diets
put people at a higher risk of gallstone formation, irregular heartbeat, and electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes are required to keep the body’s muscle and nerves functioning properly.
If I have a patient that is currently eating 2000 calories per day and maintaining weight
, but wants to lose weight, taking an average of 500 calories per day less will equate in a 3500 calorie/week deficit, resulting in a pound per week weight loss. When patients lose more than 1-2 pounds per week, I start getting concerned about what they’re losing – water, fat or muscle. Water drops off first, and then we get to the nitty gritty. If someone is eating a healthy, balanced diet
and exercising regularly - fat will usually then be lost. But without the balanced diet
and exercise, muscle is as likely to go as the fat. So what, you wonder?
If you’ve lost muscle you have less calorie-burning tissue and when your “diet” is over and you resume “normal” eating, you’ll have an excess of calories. When you have an excess of calories, you body converts the extra to fat. It usually means you gain the weight back quicker than you lost it and usually gain more than you had lost to begin with. You may be able to fit into that dress for the special occasion, but not for long.
are also not sustainable – not something you can do for a lifetime. Eating a balanced, healthy diet is something that can be continued lifelong, as is exercise. Make the better choices for you health, for your lifetime, not just for a short-term result.