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HCG Diet Side Effects Include Malnutrition, Infection

W.L. Meyers | August 17th, 2012

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Though it is not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration as a dietary supplement, and though its weight loss effects are heavily disputed by many in the medical community, people continue to use pregnancy hormone HCG to lose weight. HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is captured from the urine of pregnant women and distributed as sprays, pills, and injections.

Though some people report losing weight on the HCG diet, nutrition experts such as Dr. Michael Kaplan of The Center for Medical Weight Loss, and Pieter Cohen of Harvard Medical School agree that it is a low calorie diet that stimulates weight loss, rather than the HCG hormone.

HCG diet dangers

People who have tried HCG have reported a long list of HCG diet side effects. These may be broken down into two categories: side effects experienced as a result of ingestion of the hormone, and side effects that occur as a result of the highly restrictive diet.

HCG diet side effects due to the hormone

Complications that may result from ingesting HCG include:

  • Infection
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which may result in pelvic swelling, vomiting, swelling in the hands and legs, weight gain, diarrhea, and shortness of breath
  • Early puberty in men
  • Multiple births
  • Hepatitis or HIV due to failure to test urine extracted from potentially infected women

HCG diet risks due to restrictive calorie intake

  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Rash
  • Leg cramps due to lack of potassium
  • Malnutrition
  • Mineral deficiencies

HCG for weight loss: the bottom line

In addition to numerous potential side effects, HCG is also expensive, and has at best a questionable effect on weight loss.

“Bottom line: Don’t look to an HCG weight loss program to lose weight,” says Dr. Kaplan. “Despite numerous medical studies, no connection between HCG and weight loss has been shown. Worse, these plans could put your health in serious danger.”

Try an alternative weight loss plan

Individuals who are struggling with to meet their weight loss goals may wish to consider the custom tailored plans offered by The Center for Medical Weight Loss. With 450 locations across the country, the center is a leader in non-surgical weight loss options. Using a mix of healthy eating solutions, exercise, and support options, the experts at the centers can help design a plan that works in accordance with your lifestyle and dietary needs.

Many people who lose weight successfully do so under the guidance of a physician. To see if there is a center near you, enter your zip code in the search box above. When you call, be sure to inquire about special introductory offers.