One of the latest new fad diets to be released onto the market, the hcg diet (Human Chrorionic Gonadotropin) has been greeted with a maelstrom of criticism, rebuke and controversy and the founder of the hcg diet, Albert T.W. Simeons, has been variously demonized and beatified in differing circles. But, what is the hcg diet?
The origins of and inspiration for the hcg diet
During his residence in India, Simeons was involved in a clinical study to determine the impact that a diet devoid of dietary calories would have upon pregnant and expectant mothers in addition to pre-pubescent males who were afflicted with Adiposogenital dystrophy and how a course of hCG injection therapy would affect the two groups.
It was identified that both groups saw a reduction in the percentage adipose tissue that was secreted around the body as opposed to muscle tissue and Simeons hypothesized this was due to the apoptosis effect of the hCG. Apoptosis is the predetermined death and destruction of a cell contained within the body in an organism and so Simeon’s believed that by careful usage and monitoring of the hCG, it would be possible to directly target the adipose reserves of the body without harming or adversely affecting the other, essential tissue around the body.
Justifying the hcg diet
Furthermore, Simeon’s also sought to explain (others would contest rationalize) this process on the grounds that the hypothalamus of the brain must be responsible for the control of the apoptosis process, as this is in turn an essential survival mechanism for an unborn foetus that is in utero. The reason for this is due to the fact that excessive adipose tissues could be deadly or at the very least, significantly harmful to the development and mobility of the foetus especially with regards to the smooth and frictionless expulsion of the foetus from the vaginal canal.
The administration and logistics of the hcg diet
As a result of this combination of assumptions and findings, Simeons then proceeded to devise what was then to later become known as and referred to as the hcg diet. In essence, the hcg diet would entail the consumption of a diet that would be extremely low in terms of calorific content with the added requirement that the intake of fat was to be minimized as much as possible.
As an appendage to the downturn of the calorie and dietary fat intake there would also be the usage of a daily injection of the hCG hormone that would carefully measured in terms of its dosage, which would was not to exceed 125 IU.
In essence then, the rationale behind the hcg diet was to tackle excess body fat and weight with a root and branch solution, by optimizing the weight loss capabilities of the body by virtue of the fact that adipose tissue would be targeted specifically; as well as ensuring additional calories were not consumed.
Risks, drawbacks and limitations of the hcg diet
The hcg diet has come under fierce criticism from a variety of different sources ranging from physicians who have expressed concern over the efficacy and relative perils that this treatment presents to users, to religious groups that have questioned the ethics of such an approach as well as the manner from which the hormone has been harvested.
Limited long term results
One of the primary criticisms that has been directed towards the hcg diet is that it does not provide sustainable, long-term weight loss benefits or strategies for the diet and therefore, at the best case scenario, it gives nothing more than a short term fix.
Limited evidence to suggest that the hcg hormone has any beneficial properties
Numerous studies have been conducted in order to critically assess and examine the efficacy of the hcg diet and the consensus has been overwhelmingly negative: the weight loss actually achieved by virtue of such a diet is nearly exclusively attributable to the low calorie content of the diet.
This stands to reason, given the fact that 500 calories is only 25% of the daily recommended intake of calories for an adult male who is of average dimensions.
Risk of relapse and the metabolic rebound syndrome
Other studies have identified that dieters who did manage to lose weight by following and adhering to the hcg diet would then be at an elevated risk of weight gain after the hcg diet had come to an end. This has been explained as a consequence of the fact that because the dieters are currently being bound by a very stringent diet that has little in the way of calorific content, this means that they do not have a comfortable platform from which they can hope to learn new and more appropriate eating habits and strategies.
Nutritionists have also responded that due to the fact that the hcg diet in effect, triggers the starvation response from the body, this then means that all food that is consumed after the reign of the hcg diet has finally drawn to a close will be converted into a higher percentage of adipose tissue than before, in order to compensate.
Benefits of the hcg diet
Further studies have identified that the hcg diet may not be entirely suitable for the general population but, if used in carefully controlled circumstances and with a select patient group, then there can beneficial results achieved by virtue of the diet.
Potential treatment method
Adult males who are afflicted from androgen deficiency will be able to use the hcg diet to reduce their excess adipose tissues, and the risks associated with the usage of this diet are greatly eliminated if the male afflicted with the condition follows the instructions carefully.
Secondary benefit of reduction in dietary foods hazardous to overall health
Furthermore, the fact that the amount of calories that the diet is permitted to consume on a daily basis is significantly curtailed means that this helps to eliminate the amount of refined sugar and foods that have a very saturation of trans fats is reduced in turn.
This further helps to reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus from arising, as people who consume a diet with a high sugar diet are further compelled to eat even more food that has a high sugar content as a consequence of the significant energy slump caused by the insulin hormone reducing the blood glucose levels of the body.
With such fierce criticism, profoundly prejudicial side effects and dramatic health risks, the hcg diet has served to be a sobering reminder of our obsession with physical perfection.