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HCG Diet Plan Reviewed in U.S. News and World Report

Whitney | October 5th, 2012

Plenty of reviews have been published on the HCG diet plan, with one of the most recent written for U.S. News and World Report by Keri Gans. The registered dietician gave her take on HCG for weight loss, stating that this fad diet appears to be one that just “does not seem to disappear.”  Gans has been offering her view on the danger of HCG diet side effects since 2008. Now, her latest review features plenty of facts about HCG diet dangers, as well as safer, healthier options for weight loss.

Better Alternatives to HCG for Weight Loss

Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder and chief medical officer of The Center for Medical Weight Loss, agrees with Gans that in addition to being unproven and expensive (Gans estimates the cost of the HCG diet to be around $450 per 21-day cycle), using HCG for weight loss may be dangerous. Dr. Kaplan advises his patients to follow a physician-guided weight loss program that can be customized to their unique metabolic makeup and dietary needs.

The programs offered through The Center for Medical Weight Loss are backed up by scientific evidence that shows patients can lose weight and keep it off. A study recently published in the American Journal of Medicine demonstrated that patients at the Center lose an average of 11.1% of total body weight in 12 weeks, and over 95% maintained weight loss after one year.

HCG Diet Plan Not Substantiated by Science

The HCG diet plan requires dieters to take HCG daily, either by injection or drops under the tongue. Gans states in her review that use of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) for weight loss has not been backed up by any sort of substantial scientific research. Gans believes any weight loss seen is due to the low-calorie diet that accompanies daily administration of HCG. When the diet was first introduced, the daily caloric intake was just 500 calories; it has since been raised to 800 calories.

Gans is not the only medical expert to question the effectiveness and safety of HCG for weight loss. The FDA has issued warnings about the HCG diet plan, stating that the hormone has not been approved for weight loss and that over the counter sales of HCG for this purpose are illegal. In its warning, the FDA states, “HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity.”

HCG Diet Side Effects

Gans cites a number of potential HCG diet side effects dieters might experience on the program, due to the low-calorie menu. She explains the brain needs a certain amount of glucose to function properly, which it won’t get on 500 to 800 calories a day. She adds that the low caloric intake will also prohibit dieters from keeping up with a regular exercise program – an important component for both physical and mental health as well as weight loss. Gans says the diet could also result in bone and muscle loss, the formation of gallstones and electrolyte imbalance.

Gans agrees that there are better ways to lose weight than a potentially dangerous fad diet like the HCG plan. She recommends eating a healthy diet, watching portion sizes and incorporating daily physical exercise.

Dr. Kaplan recommends a similar program, but emphasizes that one done under the oversight of an experienced physician will reap even greater success. The Center For Medical Weight Loss has produced thousands of successful weight loss stories at its 450 centers nationwide. Enter your zip code in the box at the right to find out if there is a center near you. Introductory offers are available at some locations for first-time visitors.