I read the posting by Kathleen Zelman regarding her opinion of the hCG Diet. I must respectfully disagree. I am not an habitual dieter, I consider myself to be skeptical and less than highly disciplined, and I have never given much credence to homeopathy.
That being said, I have been on the hCG weight loss protocol for a little less than a month, and have lost 26.2 pounds, but that is only part of the story. When I decided to embark on this, I also got a scale (I'm 57 and had never owned one) that also measures Body Fat %, Muscle %, Water %, Body Mass Index and Basal Metabolic rate. It was $30. I have been tracking all of those metrics (I'm a bit of a number nerd).
According to this scale, I have lost 24.4 pounds of fat, and 1.3 pounds of muscle, so Ms. Zelman's contention that the significant weight loss is accompanied by an undesireable loss of muscle mass does not agree with my experience.
Another point she made was that the diet was too severe to follow. I haven't found that to be the case, either. It's boring, but it's easy to follow, and deemphasizes the importance of the ritual of eating that has been part of my life for so long, and which contributed to my weight creeping up as I aged. By the way, I am 6'1", and my starting weight was 218.6 lbs.
The meals aren't particulary satisfying, but I don't feel particularly hungry all the time which would be the case with a straight 500 calorie a day diet.
At my wife's suggestion, I chose to proceed with this protocol using a homeopathic formulation. I have never believed or understood homeopathy (my son describes it as being just this side of imaginary), but figured why not? It certainly was more attractive to me than injections or ingestion of hormones or chemicals.
It has worked for me. It has already made a significant difference in my life, and I am a big fan. Losing fat not muscle, rapid weight loss without a gnawing hunger, saving a ton of money on food not bought, enhanced self image, lower blood pressure, deeper sleep ... it's all good. And no one is more surprised than (the skeptic) me.
I have no hidden agenda, I don't sell anything connected to using this protocol, I'm just a regular guy who's personal experience completely contradicts the opinions Ms. Zelman (and by extension WebMD) put forward in her article.
What a outstanding answer!! I have owned a wellness clinic since 1999, and have first hand experience with personal weight problems and programs, including the HCG Diet. It is nothing short of extraordinary as you mention when done correctly!
Upon investigation of the benefits of HCG and the understanding that the hypothalamus regulates the accumulation and release of abnormal fat in the human body, a concrete answer is that if the HCG Diet is followed correctly, it does work.
I personally have over-seen 1000's of clients in my wellness center and trained more than 80 practitioners since 2007 how to effectively oversee the HCG diet and what nutritional support needs to be added. The problem is that the internet has created a 'free frawl' for people selling just HCG and they have not a clue how to help people who may have underlying health problems that need to be addressed while doing the HCG Diet.
The fact that the gold standard used to lose weight through diet and exercise or pre-packaged food or weekly diet meeting programs have a 95% failure rate within one year, indicates that they don't work. Even Oprah Winfrey came forth recently and stated she is not going to fight her weight anymore and will not diet again.
What an outstanding answer!! I have owned a wellness clinic since 1999, and have firsthand experience with the HCG Diet since 2007. When done correctly, it is nothing short of extraordinary as you mentioned. I can vouch that if the HCG Diet is followed correctly, it does work and people get better long terms results than with just diet and exercise.
I am trying to help educate people, such as Kathleen Zelman and others, who really don't understand the HCG Diet. I see many people refer to the "500 calories" in conjunction with the HCG Diet and its results; however the concern of muscle loss and other concerns aren't applicable to the HCG Diet.
HCG works on the hypothalamus to help regulate it better. Everything else in our body shows wear and tear with time, so why would we think this gland is different? Why would we think there couldn't be an imbalance?
The hypothalamus regulates the accumulation and release of abnormal fat in the human body and many things can contribute to its 'dis-regulation'. Taking the correct amount of HCG for dieting purposes and eating the correct fat free foods while on the HCG Diet helps rebalance the hypothalamus. This in turn encourages the body to stop accumulating abnormal fat and to begin releasing abnormal fat. This is why people experience such extra-ordinary results in such a short period of time. The fat accumulation slows down and the release speeds up! The HCG Diet is NOT just about a low calorie, low fat diet. HCG, as I have personally experienced and witnessed, makes significant, positive internal changes in regard to losing fat and excess weight. When we compare its positive effects to the fact that whole licorice is used to rebuild adrenal glands, why can't we accept that HCG can help re-build the hypothalamus?
However, until now, the diet industry, as a whole, has a 95% failure rate. That's horrible. That means only 5% of people who struggle through diet and exercise; pre-packaged foods and/ or weekly diet meeting programs will keep the weight off past one year. 95% won't. This clearly indicates to me that these methods don't work. Even Oprah Winfrey came forth recently and stated she is not going to fight her weight anymore and will not diet again.
However, with the resurgence of the HCG Diet, I believe the era of losing weight with outdated, unsuccessful plans will soon fade away as more and more people learn about the HCG Diet. There are those of us, who know the HCG Diet works. There are many forms of HCG, and I would like to help clarify how they all differ in subsequent postings. Sincerely, Dr. Beth Golden.
OK, now I've started my maintenance phase, yesterday I could eat anything and I was impeccable with the no sugar and no starch. I ate turkey, gravy, hazlenuts, oj, coffee, apples, green salad, gorgonzola, peanuts.
My daughter is on the hcg diet under a doctor's care and is on about 700 or 900 calories, I don't remember which. Here is the thing though. She suffers terribly from what has been diagnosed as fibromyalgia. In terrible pain a lot of the time yet still has to go to work every day and care for her family. Fortunately her husband does a lot of the housework. After being on the hcg diet for two weeks she was free from pain and even was moving furniture around to clean (moved the sofa herself--no pain). Evidently you go off the diet after a while and then go back on again. I am not familiar with the schedule. She stopped the hcg and added eggs, oatmeal and beans to her diet. Terrible pain started up again. I think the diet is dangerous and certainly not high enough in calories for a nurse who needs a strong body and a good brain but I can't argue with her because she was so happy to be pain free. She added in eggs everyday but on the diet was eating maybe one or two a week with no ill consequences. She was wondering if the lectin in the beans was causing the fibromyalgia symptoms. If anyone has any ideas about this I would appreciate his opinion.
" I have my doubts that it is fibromyalgia. True fibromyalgia should not change whether on the diet or not. As for the diet, I agree that the severe calorie restriction is not healthy. I really see no difference between this diet and yo-yo starvation diets that in the long run just lead to rebound weight gain. As for the pain it does sound like it could be a sensitivity to something in her diet. The lectins in the beans or the gluten in the oats are likely culprits. And eggs are common allergens. The best way to find out is to start eliminating things from the diet one by one to find out what she is sensitive to and replacing these foods with more nutritious foods."
Thanks Beth for expressing your experience with the bHCG diet. I would Iike to add a comment about "scientific evidence".
First, I do value clinic experience and the success that clinicians feel like they see over through their careers. Yet there is something to be said for scientific evidence backing up claims. You say that traditional weight loss programs (diet change exercise) work only about 95% of the time after one year. While this may be true, what about numbers for the bHCG diet?? Can you cite objective, peer-reviewed (published in a reputable journal) percentages for the bHCG diet after one year? I know you clinical experience tells you it works (seeing 1000s of patients), but can you point us to studies (not done by HCG manufacturers or providers)? One possible explanantion for your experience: the 1000s of patients that you see positively affected may be just the ones who come back to you because it worked for them. It is possible that all the people for whom the bHCG diet didn't work or had serious problems/side effects, they didn't come back to you. In that case, you'd never know how well it worked overall. In a formal scientific study, this is something you have to think about through "intention to treat analysis" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intention_to_treat_analysis). Clinical experience doesn't make doing this kind of analysis possible.
Second, I would make a point on why traditional exercise and diet don't work much of the time. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly is not easy and takes a lot of focus/motivation over years. The reason diet/exercise fail "95%" of the time is because people have trouble maintaining healthy diet and activity. Most inevitably "fall off the train" and eat unhealthily and aren't physically active enough. If you were able to maintain a healthy diet and enough exercise, you would lose weight. There is no question about that. Studies at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where people are essentially locked into a room (voluntarily) and only given certain amounts of food and compelled to exercise an exact amount everyday, show that diet change and exercise DO WORK. Of course I am not suggesting people locking themselves in a room; I am just showing that on a basic level, diet/activity do work. Further, other experiments show that after a very low calorie diet (like the bHCG diet without the bHCG), traditional diet/exercise can help people keep weight off long term (example: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/12792622/). The question is whether you can maintain traditional diet/exercise.
In real life, the reasons that diet/exercise don't work are not simple. It isn't necessarily an individiual's fault alone. We live in a world that makes eating unhealthily and not exercising easy. There is fast food all around us, processed foods with lots of fat everywhere, and portion sizes (the size of our plates) are getting bigger and bigger. Meanwhile, we have built cities that depend on cars, make biking/walking difficult, and have increasingly starting working jobs that don't include physical activity. We also are trying to cram more and more into our everyday lives, making less time available to eat well and be physically active. This also makes life more stressful (which can increase eating). All this means that it is not that physical activity and a healthy diet don't work, it is that getting there is very hard. I believe that the answer is not things like the bHCG diet (or any other diet), but fundamentally changing the way we live. We need to change our cities/towns and be advocates for creating a society that pushes healthy lifestyles. That would mean Beth's "95%" failure rate would go drastically down. We need real and meaningful change in our lives, not simple and quick diet/drug fixes to our weight problems.
Also, I would add that there have been many studies showing the ineffectiveness of the HCG diet. This one, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/595585, from the 1970s, showed that HCG injection did no more for weight loss, measurements of circumference of parts of the body, or hunger control than injection of water (a placebo). A newer study from 1995, that combined a bunch of prior controlled trials, showed that HCG is not more effective than placebo in helping with weight loss. The message here is that eating a 500 calorie diet will make anyone lose weight. HCG scientifically hasn't been shown to help this process at all.
hcgfan: Scientific studies cost lots and lots of money and should be reviewed by peers and published in the literature. With respect, I have to say that your scale that cost 30 dollars is not the stuff of scientific studies. I doubt that any researcher who wants accurate results would use it.
Dropping to 500 calories will enable you to lose weight. There is a video of a morbidly obese British guy who checks himself into a hospital for what is essentially a starvation diet. He ate 500 calories a day which I believe were interspersed with fasts. Did he lose weight? Of course he did. He lost lots of weight but also spent several months in the hospital under medical supervision. (and he did not use hcg)
You can lose weight on the sunshine diet. (A diet one doctor made up consisting of just hamburger and orange juice.) Just to show that limiting calories, no matter what you ate will cause you to lose weight.
How healthy you are and whether or not the diet has caused any harm is another thing.
The doctor who wrote here is correct in that most people who diet gain back the weight. That happens because they did not learn to eat a healthful diet but relied on gimmicks. The hcg diet is no different. Is there any evidence that you can return to eating a normal number of calories and not have to return to the hcg diet?
It remains to be seen if you have learned to eat healthfully without any crutch, potion, pill or injection. Will you regain the weight or will you continue to slim down? Have your heart, lungs, liver and kidneys remained healthy? Diet success is counted in years.
There have been a 'few' studies on the HCG Diet. The studies that were submitted to the FDA in the 70s were very unscientific, didn't follow Simeons' protocol and were the basis for the FDA determining there is no difference in weight loss than a low calorie diet. Which everyone agrees upon. WHERE the fat is lost and what TYPE of fat is the difference. The study conducted by Asher and Harper in the 70's, was the only study submitted to the FDA that followed Simeon's protocol exactly. The FDA continues to ignore the difference in the FAT lost, the speed with which the abnormal fat is lost and the better long term results.
Thanks for your response Beth. I think this dialogue is quite important.
As to your point about the 1970s studies being unscientific, can you comment on how? I agree these studies have there issues, but no study is ever perfect. In my opinion, looking at the studies, I am not sure how they are unscientific. They where "randomized, double-blinded, placebo controlled trials". This is the type of study that is considered the best of the best in health care.
Beth, you say that people/researchers agree that HCG does not help with increased weight loss. Instead, you say HCG does help with getting rid of abnormal fat. Can you describe more about what you mean, and also can you provide any evidence (any studies) for this? I haven't found any such evidence/studies. Looking at the study you mention that follows the Simeons' protocol correctly (Asher 1973), it does not show this. In fact, it shows that, compared to a placebo injection, HCG helps with increased weight loss. Though as you and I agreed, studies since the Asher study have shown that this is not true (see the studies I listed already). Further, Asher didn't mention the important effect of HCG you mention: getting rid of abnormal fat. FYI, for those interested in reading the Asher study, you can find a copy here http://www.gregdawson.org/docs/study.pdf .
Last, for my next point, let's assume that HCG does actually help people loose abnormal fat. If so, are there any studies showing that HCG actually helps people keep the fat off long term? I haven't looked very hard, but I haven't seen any. I might just be missing them. Has anyone found any studies?
Perhaps the big issue here is that there is no study looking at how HCG affects fat distribution (where the fat in your body is). We do have studies showing that HCG doesn't help with preventing feelings of hunger, help with weight loss (at least short-term), doesn't affect depression/anxiety, and doesn't affect a few others things.
Also, maybe we need some studies looking at how HCG does or does not help people keep weight off long term.
Beth, can you comment on my thoughts about issues with weight loss generally, that we need to focus on changing the ways we live and move in this world? As I said in my last post, I think these are the ways we will really be able to fix the obesity epidemic facing the world (it is not just first-world countries these days!).
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