Thursday, October 27, 2011

The hCG Diet... Caveat emptor!

Let the buyer beware is the English translation of the popular Latin phrase caveat emptor. This is a universal warning for all people who are looking to purchase a good or service. This warning is especially helpful when looking to purchase a product that is associated with weight loss. There are literally hundreds of different products and diets to choose from, everyone claiming that theirs is the best or is based on cutting edge science. One of these diets, which has made a recent resurgence, is the hCG diet. I first became aware of the hCG diet back in early 2010 while attending a seminar. The presenter explained to us how hCG helps with burning fat, increasing the sense of well being and suppressing appetite. He told us how people were losing 10, 20, 30 pounds is a matter of just a few weeks. This of course piqued my interest and I wanted to know more. Everything presented was always a bit vague but just tantalizing enough to leave you wanting more. Of course at the end of his sales pitch, I mean seminar, he wanted you to be a distributor of his hCG product. Being the skeptic I am, especially when it comes to things like this, I decided to research this miracle weight loss product a bit more before committing to anything.

My research into the subject of the hCG diet found that a Dr. Albert T. Simeons first popularized this diet in the 1950’s after publishing a paper titled “Pounds and Inches: A new Approach to Obesity. I won’t go into full detail about his research, but the main points that need to be emphasized are that Dr. Simeons was using what would now be considered pharmaceutical grade hCG that can only be obtained by prescription. The other point of emphasis is that his diet only allowed for a caloric intake of 500 calories per day. This diet was fairly popular even into the mid 1970’s but started to fall out of favor because the research was showing that the hCG had no real effect as was claimed by Dr. Simeons.

Jump to the present, 2011, and now you see a different twist to the hCG diet. Now it is the homeopathic hCG diet. Just a few drops of homeopathic hCG under the tongue and watch the pounds melt away as you live on a 500 calorie diet for 21-40 day depending on how much weight you want to loose. Oh and don’t forget you wont even become hungry on this 500 calorie a day diet because the hCG will suppress your appetite.

So let us ignore for the moment what the research says about taking pharmaceutical grade prescription only hCG and assume pharmaceutical grade hCG works. So, if we assume this, can’t we also assume that homeopathic hCG will a have a similar effect? It’s certainly what the manufacturers of homeopathic hCG want you to think. The only problem is, the amount of hCG that is in your homeopathic formula is next to zero or zero. Homeopathic preparations are so diluted that by the time they are packaged and ready for purchased they contain only trace amounts of hCG or no hCG at all. It is important that the consumer understand this point when purchasing homeopathic hCG. All homeopathic preparations are diluted, some more than others, but all are diluted to the point where the active ingredient is virtually gone. According to homeopathic theory, this diluting process called potentization allows the substance to leave a biochemical imprint on the water molecules so that the medicinal effect remains intact, even in the substance’s virtual absence. For me that is a leap of faith I am unwilling to make. But let us assume the diluting process of homeopathy works and some how the chemical imprint of hCG takes place on the water it is diluted in and even though there is virtually no hCG in the water it some how works just like hCG. Even if this is true, we know from the studies that undiluted hCG that is pharmaceutical grade by prescription only does not work like Dr. Simeons claimed. A study done in 1977 summons this all up quite nicely when it stated, “Injections of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) have been claimed to aid in weight reduction by reducing hunger, and affecting mood as well as aiding in localized (spot) reduction. We have tested these claims in a double-blind randomized trial using injections of hCG or placebo. Weight loss was identical between the two groups, and there was no evidence for differential effects on hunger, mood or localized body measurements. Placebo injections, therefore, appear to be as effective as HCG in the treatment of obesity.”

So what is the magic in the hCG diet? Why are so many people loosing so much weight on this diet? The answer, as I’m sure you have already come to, is the caloric restriction. Only consuming a diet of 500 calories for even a short period of time is going to cause just about anyone to loose weight. It’s not the hCG! Eat less, maybe not just 500 calories, and exercise more seems to be an over used phrase when it comes to weight loss, but for the majority of us it holds true. So save your money and spend it on something other than hCG and remember “let the buyer beware!”


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