HCG Diet Dangers - Myths Debunked

Myth: An HCG Diet provides poor nutrition

The HCG Diet program is designed to make sure necessary nutrients that a person needs is attained. The daily protein requirement is met. Two servings each of vegetables and fruits are required, which is more than most people eat in a day. If one ate only the food on the diet, there is no question that this much food would not be enough to provide the daily necessary vitamins and minerals. However, the True HCG Diet requires that the person take supplements.

Supplements provide the extra nutritional needs not obtained from the foods on the diet. These supplements include high dose multiple vitamins and minerals, to make sure all the daily vitamin requirement needs are met. Most people don’t even get proper vitamins in a regular diet, and taking supplements while on the diet could induce a habit they can continue for life.

Supplements of calcium and vitamin D are recommended, since there are no dairy products in the diet program. Most government and nutritional organizations recommend dairy products, not because of the other nutrients in the group which can be obtained from other sources, but for the calcium content. Taking Calcium supplements takes care of these needs.

Myth: A 500 calories a day is detrimental to your health.

The reality is that such a low calorie diet can indeed potentially cause some problems if not prescribed and monitored appropriately. Serious electrolyte disturbances can occur when other medical conditions are present or certain medications are ingested. But this is an extremely rare problem if you do the diet through an experienced clinic such as Amaya.

Trained physicians should monitor you on the diet for these potential electrolyte disturbances that may occur. Although rare, these problems can cause some very serious side effects, especially if associated with cardiac arrhythmias that could be fatal for certain individuals if present. A trained physician should be knowledgeable about potential side effects of this diet program and other medications that you take.

Myth: Not enough protein is ingested on a low calorie diet.

The body indeed has certain "needs", including calories for energy and protein as building blocks to continually sustain life. Some people who do not know the diet well unjustly criticize it and think that the 500 calories are insufficient to provide adequate daily protein needs. However, this criticism is unjustified.

Most authorities state that the recommended amount of protein required by the human body is around 0.8 - 1 gm/kg, or around .4-.5 gm/pound.1,2,3,4 On average, this is from 50 gm to 100 grams of protein per day. The Amaya HCG Diet program requires you to ingest around 200 gm of a protein food a day, which is an adequate amount of protein to fulfill your daily needs. Therefore, adequate protein intake is provided by this diet, and these criticisms of the diet are unfounded.

In addition, most dietary authorities recommend a diet that contains varied protein foods. The Amaya program recommends that all meals should vary in the protein ingested, i.e., you should pick a different protein food and vary your protein foods per meal. Thus, the diet program fulfills another dietary recommendation. Adequate variation of the proteins ingested with the program can indeed provide the essential protein and amino acids needed for sustaining adequate health.

Myth: The HCG low calorie diet is a muscle wasting diet.

Most people do not experience muscle wasting while on this diet if done properly. Adequate protein is required when doing the HCG diet, preserving the muscle mass. There is no need to pull proteins from your muscles for your body’s needs since you must ingest adequate amounts of protein while on the 500 calorie a day diet. Many people even gain muscle as they exercise during the diet program.

Think of it this way. When faced with a very low calorie diet and your body "thinks" it is pregnant due to the HCG flowing in your body, it will search for nutrients. It searches for protein and amino acids. Since you are ingesting adequate amounts of protein, it finds these nutrients in your blood. It therefore doesn’t need to pull the nutrients from your muscles. Thus, the program is more muscle sparing, contradicting the critics of the program.

Myth: Not consuming adequate energy calories your body’s needs on the HCG Diet.

Your body also searches for calories to give it energy. With HCG on board, since it wants to "feed the baby" and not conserve the fat, it pulls the calories into your blood to fulfill your body’s needs. Consequently, you actually provide your own calorie needs from your fat, which is what you want to do to lose weight.

Thus, what the diet doesn’t spare is the fat. The 500 calories a day, plus the HCG causes the body to release the stored calories in your fat stores. These released calories are then readily available to your body to give you the energy you need for your daily body energy needs. You are not deficient. These calories are just as good as calories from ingested fats, carbohydrates and starches that you would normally eat. The difference is that you lose weight if you burn your own calories.

Myth: The HCG Diet is contrary to medical advice.

There are those who believe that the proper medical advice is to ingest your minimum calorie needs for proper health. These are also called your resting calorie needs, or your basal metabolic rate (BMR). However, your body does get all the calorie requirements that it needs when you do the HCG Diet. The difference is that you use your own calories that have been pulled from your existing excess fatty deposits instead of externally putting them into your body through your mouth by eating them.

The result is that you do indeed get your needed BMR calories, yet you lose weight in the process. Many physicians feel this is actually very good medical advice and results in better health since you lose the weight. Would the critics also believe that lap band or gastric bypass surgery, which has similar calorie restrictions, is also contrary to medical advice and it would be better to be fat?

Myth: You don’t eat enough fiber on the diet.

Your body requires adequate fiber for proper colon function and for better health. Some critics of the 500 calories diet say you won’t get enough fiber on 500 calories a day. However, let’s evaluate this scientifically. The American Dietetic Association recommends a healthy diet include 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day from plant foods, including both soluble and insoluble fiber. However, most Americans normally only consume about half that amount.

The HCG Diet requires that you ingest at least the same as what most Americans normally eat. Sometimes this can be even more than the recommended healthy diet amounts. Most fruits and vegetables can contain around 4 or more grams of fiber per serving. Since four servings are required per day on the HCG Diet program, you will at least ingest what most Americans eat every day. Many people actually eat much healthier meals on the diet. Moreover, if they need more fiber, supplements can also be prescribed.

Myth: Eating 500 calories a day for the rest of your life is impossible.

Unfortunately, many people, especially many critics of HCG Diets, think that people who do HCG Diets must continue eating only 500 calories a day for the rest of their lives. This idea is totally and absolutely false. The 500 calories a day diet is only for the first 40 days of a course of the diet. After all the excess weight is lost, a healthy diet is eaten with associated lifestyle changes.

The lifestyle changes learned during the program are what help people keep the weight off long term, not the 500 calorie diet. The latter is just a means to reach the former, and is an essential part of the program. Many people who have done our program have stated that it is probably the most life changing remarkable weight-loss program that they have ever done. It’s not a fad. It’s a diet program that can be successful for the rest of your life.

Myth: Not eating a good breakfast is just not healthy.

No breakfast whatsoever, except for coffee, or tea is consumed during the HCG Diet. We all know of those who emphatically state that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day." The reality is that this old wives’ tale is simply just a myth. It’s the total amount of calories ingested in a 24 hour period of time that is more important. The method or timing of ingesting them is variable and may not be a significant factor.

Large breakfasts are, in our opinion, a vestigial outdated meal that is left over from the days when most of us were farmers. We needed to have a hearty breakfast early in the morning to work in the fields. However, nowadays, most of us don’t work out in the fields. Thus, the need for us to have a large food/calorie load in the morning is just not necessary.

Myth: The HCG Diet is just another "fad" diet that won’t work long term.

Some critics of the HCG Diet call it a "fad" diet. They contend that any quick weight loss programs don’t work in the long run. They state that people who make small changes over time are much more successful at permanently changing the way they eat. They also agree that doing small changes won’t result in you seeing major changes in your weight quickly.

Many critics of HCG Diets state that the diet is just a quick fix and does not encourage long term healthy dietary lifestyles. On the contrary, eating healthier is a paramount goal of the HCG True Diet program. You are required to eat healthy to do the program. This includes learning about portion size, about calories in foods, about exercising, and about choosing more nutritious foods than you normally would eat.

Indeed, there are some HCG Diets on the market that are simply short term. They are temporary diets that help you lose weight in the short run, but don’t emphasis long term weight reduction maintenance. The Amaya HCG Diet Program differs from those other types. We believe that changes in lifestyle must be made in order to keep the weight off long term.

For a large majority of people, seeing big changes, such as quick weight loss, is highly motivational to nourish drastic lifestyle changes. If you continue to practice these lifestyle changes after you have lost the extra weight with the HCG Diet, the hope is that these changes would become habits that you will continue to do for the rest of your life.

Myth: The medical establishment is against using this diet.

There have been many medical weight loss clinics that have misused the Simeon protocol and many protocols have not been monitored adequately. Shortly after coming to the United States in the 60’s, it was the most widespread medication given in the United States to lose weight. Unfortunately, it was misused and abused by many, resulting in giving it a black mark by unscrupulous physicians.

Shortly after this abuse of HCG diets, the medical establishment started to become suspicious of the drug. Bad press against the program developed. In 1962, the Journal of the American Medical Association warned against the Simeons diet, saying "continued adherence to such a drastic regimen is potentially more hazardous to the patient's health than continued obesity." Would they say the same today about lap band surgery?

Many studies were performed from the 1970s to present day, some showed great results, and some did not. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in the 1970s, concluded that the diet did not show good results during earlier trials5,6, and these conclusions have continued today, despite articles stating otherwise. There are many other studies that have shown very successful results from doing the HCG diet program.7,8,9

The reality is that there are proponents of the diet program and critics. We have seen the results and have seen how so many people eat 500 calories a day yet "feel fine" while doing it. We have seen the 20, 30, 40 pound weight loss, or more, and the happiness and excitement of people who have lost the weight. We know that we are improving their health and appearance while monitoring the safety of the program when the overweight person does the HCG Diet program.

HCG Diet References

1. Hamilton, E. M. N., Whitney, E. N., and Sizer, F. S. 1991. Nutrtion: Concepts and Controversies, 5th ed. West Publishing Co., New York, USA.

2. Institute of Medicine. 2005. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. National Academy Press. (Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies).

3. Hamilton, E. M. N., Whitney, E. N., and Sizer, F. S. 1991. Nutrtion: Concepts and Controversies, 5th ed. West Publishing Co., New York, USA.

4. Institute of Medicine. 2005. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. National Academy Press. (Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academies).

5.Ballin JC, White PL, Fallacy and hazard. Human chorionic gonadotropin-500-calorie diet and weight reduction. JAMA 1974 Nov 4;230(5):693-4.

6. Bosch B et al. Human chorionic gonadotropin and weight loss – a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. S Afr Med J. 1990 Feb 17;77(4):185-9.

7. Asher WL, HarperHW. Effect of human chorionic gonadotropin on weight loss, hunger, and feeling of well-being. Am J Clin Nutr 26: Feb 1973, pp.211-218.

8. Belluscio DO, Ripamonte L, Wolansky M. Utility of an oral presentation of HCG for the management of obesity: a double-blind study. http://hcgobesity.org/ifcor.

9. Vogt T, Belusscio D. Controversies in Plastic Surgery: Suction-Assisted Liipectomy (SAL) and the hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) Protocol for Obesity Treatment. Aesth. Plast. Surg. 11:131-156, 1987.


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