The HCG Diet

I feel like every time I finish a post about a ridiculous diet plan I find myself coming across an even more ludicrous one the very next day. It’s not that I particularly enjoy writing posts that express my dislike for them but if one person who is considering taking one on reads this blog and changes their mind, then I consider it a job well done! 

The HCG diet is a new plan that has recently been brought to my attention and I wouldn’t hesitate to say it’s probably the worst one I’ve seen yet, and certainly the one that has annoyed me the most. Just in case you haven’t heard of it yet, here’s the basic idea:

  • Restrict yourself to 500 calories a day
  • Get these calories from two meals containing one protein, one vegetable, one bread and one fruit
  • Don’t consume any butters or oils
  • Inject HCG hormone

I can’t quite decide which part of that is worse, the fact that you are practically starving yourself or that you are obliged to inject yourself to see benefits. In fact anyone who suggests the HCG helps you lose weight is dillusional, you don’t have to be an expert to realise that it’s the calorie restrictions doing the work.

The purpose of the HCG is to reduce feelings of hunger and as a result take away your appetite. Other methods of administration are available but unless injected the HCG will usually just dissolve before reaching the blood.

I wouldn’t argue with anyone who said this method would make you lose weight – of course you will lose weight if you eat just 500 calories a day! Supporters of this diet, and yes there are plenty out there, boast that you can expect to lose as much as a pound each and every day.

Well I can tell you without any uncertainty that if you’re losing that much weight it probably won’t be good for you and there’s not a chance all the weight lost will be fat. You see the thing about these plans are that they may make you happy when you look at the scales but that lost weight is more than likely from muscle breakdown.

Trust me, any weight loss as rapid as this will be as a result of a loss of muscle – it’s quite heavy after all! And if losing muscle isn’t bad enough it will also be slowing down your metabolism meaning that weight will go back on much easier when you stop the diet and make gaining muscle much harder.

All of this seems common sense, right? Of course this is incredibly dangerous – yes you will lose weight but it won’t be weight loss that you want. You can also kiss goodbye to any muscular gains, just think about it – you arent going to gain muscle with 500 calories a day, are you?

Somehow the HCG diet is growing in popularity though as more and more people are thinking it’s a great idea. If you read this blog regularly you will know exactly how I feel about all of these quick fix ideas, they are nonsense. The problem is you can’t really put a label on get into good habits that can be sustained over a lifetime, so inevitably people look for more popular and marketed solutions.

The sooner people ditch these ridiculous diets the better! So as members of the health and fitness community we have a responsibility to make as many vulnerable people aware that these schemes aren’t the only option.

I always reiterate the same point – healthy weight loss is a result of two simple things:

  • Exercising more
  • Eating more cleanly

The sooner everyone realises that fact, the better!

Ollie Lawrence
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