Holiday Diets. Here is a subject we do not want to talk about during this season of Holiday goodies and parties. But it is a subject on our minds as we try to resist those tempting treats of the season. We can start the New Year fresh and work off those holiday pounds. I would like to make it a healthy and safe experience for everyone interested. There are so many diet plans out there that it is hard to choose. For example the hCG diet. Is it safe? Here is what I found.
A controversial usage of hCG is as an adjunct to the British endocrinologist Albert T. W. Simeons‘ ultra-low-calorie weight-loss diet (less than 500 calories). Simeons, while studying pregnant women in India on a calorie-deficient diet, and “fat boys” with pituitary problems (Frölich’s syndrome) treated with low-dose hCG, claimed that both lost fat and not lean (muscle) tissue. He reasoned that hCG must be programming the hypothalamus to do this in the former cases to protect the developing fetus by promoting mobilization and consumption of abnormal, excessive adipose deposits. Simeons later published a book entitled Pounds and Inches, designed to combat obesity. Simeons, practicing at Salvator Mundi International Hospital in Rome, Italy, recommended low-dose daily hCG injections (125 IU, or ) in combination with a customized ultra-low-calorie (500 cal/day, high-protein, low-carbohydrate/fat) diet loss of adipose tissue without loss of lean tissue. After Simeons’ death, the diet started to spread to specialized centers and via popularization by people, such as the controversial author Kevin Trudeau, famous for promotion of alternative therapies and treatments.
The controversy proceeds from warnings by the Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that hCG is neither safe nor effective as a weight-loss aid.
A meta analysis found that studies supporting hCG for weight loss were of poor methodological quality and concluded that “there is no scientific evidence that HCG is effective in the treatment of obesity; it does not bring about weight-loss or fat-redistribution, nor does it reduce hunger or induce a feeling of well-being”.
Homeopathic hCG for weight control
Controversy about, and shortages of, injected hCG for weight loss have led to real Internet promotion of “homeopathic hCG” for weight control. The ingredients in these products are often obscure, but if prepared from true hCG via homeopathic dilution, they contain either no hCG at all or only trace amounts.
The United States Food and Drug Administration has stated that over-the-counter products containing hCG are fraudulent and ineffective for weight loss. They are also not protected as homeopathic drugs and are illegal substances. HCG itself is a classified prescription drug in the United States and it has not been approved for over-the-counter sales by the FDA as a weight loss product or for any other purposes, and therefore neither hCG in its pure form nor any preparations containing hCG can be sold legally in the country except by prescription. In December 2011, FDA and FTC started to take actions to pull unapproved hCG products from the market. In the aftermath, some suppliers started to switch to “hormone-free” versions of their weight loss products, where the hormone is replaced with an unproven mixture of free amino acids.
The weight loss indicated by people on an “hCG diet” may-be attributed entirely to the fact that such diets prescribe a consumption rate of 500-550 calorie per day, or about one-quarter of what is commonly accepted as the daily recommended value for a male adult of average build and activity. Further, double-blind studies noted no decrease in appetite by those taking hCG versus people on placebos and have offered no evidence that people taking hCG are more likely to lose fat than lean tissue. Long-term results caution that unlike people participating in a diet of, such as, 1100 calories per day, those on a 500 calorie per day diet are unlikely to develop more inappropriate eating habits and will gain weight more quickly after the diet has completed.
I have concluded hCG is not safe, and the real reason for the weight loss was the starvation diet of 500-550 calories a day. There is no proof that hCG helps to build lean muscles or get rid of the fat.
Last year I added ProVantage to one of my Daily shakes and in four months I had lost 30lbs. It came off slow. As it should. My eating habits are better.
Really a Holiday diet to me is to experience the taste of those goodies that friends and relatives have worked so hard to please us with. Be cautious and don’t over indulge. Savor the flavor and you should be good. Happy Holidays everyone and enjoy.
Joe and Cindy Collins
- Fat findings (beamagazine.wordpress.com)
- Festive Healthy Living Tips – Health Central Provides a Well-Balanced Holiday Diet Infographic (TrendHunter.com) (trendhunter.com)
- Ways to Beat the Holiday Eating Season – How Not to Gain Weight During the Holidays (fitsofhealth.com)