Despite the lack of evidence supporting the effectiveness of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) as a diet aid, many continue to try the regimen in the hopes of losing a pound a day without feeling hungry. But what does an hCG weight reduction plan entail? Are there any side effects you should know before starting this regimen? Can you successfully manage your weight without exercise and eating healthy? Dr. Joseph Mercola weighs in on this controversial issue.
“It’s not something I would recommend as a first-line approach to achieving your ideal weight,” Dr. Mercola says. He recommends that “basic lifestyle changes should be implemented before considering hCG or any other diet plan.”
This is not to say that the hCG diet doesn’t deserve a more careful review. Even Dr. Jonathan Wright, Harvard Medical School graduate, natural medicine pioneer, and one of Dr. Mercola’s primary nutritional mentors, has found the hormone to be useful in his clinic.
Here are some fast details about hCG. It:
- Is produced by the placenta during pregnancy.
- Is not the same thing as HGH (human growth hormone), a hormone produced by your pituitary gland.
- Can cause temporary water retention, breast swelling, and tenderness when injected.
- Is believed to reset the hypothalamus, but studies thus far have been proven inconclusive.
The HcG diet typically involves daily injections and a low calorie diet (500 calories a day).
The Best Approach to Achieving a Healthy Weight
Many people have successfully lost weight by following Dr. Mercola’s foundational principles of weight management, which involve:
- Taking the FREE Nutritional Typing test and modifying your diet accordingly
- Eliminating processed sugar and starches whether you employ the hCG diet or not
- Reducing your consumption of grains and fruits
- Replacing soda, fruit juices and other caloric beverages with pure, clear water
- Incorporating regular exercise into your life (Dr. Mercola recommends Peak 8, high intensity burst-type exercises that boost weight loss naturally)
- Getting adequate sleep
- Managing your stress
- Using detox aids such as chlorella
Keeping the Weight Off for Life
“It is important to recognize that shortcuts just undermine one’s efforts to keep the weight off and this is why I cannot, in the end, endorse the hCG diet,” says Dr. Mercola.
According to him, a sound weight loss plan should incorporate a high intensity exercise program like Peak 8 and the use of dietary supplements with established science behind them, like BioThin and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).* It should also include healthy eating and good lifestyle choices.