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HCG Diet Side Effects

HCG diet side effects such as blood clots, HIV infection, gall stones and malnutrition have prompted some medical experts to denounce the HCG diet.

HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a hormone that’s produced during pregnancy. Some companies are making money by capturing this hormone from the urine of pregnant women and mass producing it in the form of pills, sprays and injections. These companies say HCG reduces discomforts associated with weight loss however, no medical evidence exists to support these claims.

HCG diets recommend a 500 calorie a day diet. Credible medical experts such as Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder and chief medical officer for The Center for Medical Weight Loss (CMWL) and Pieter Cohen, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, say it’s the accompanying low calorie diet, not the HCG supplements that lead to weight loss.

HCG diet side effects caused by HCG

HCG diet side effects can be placed in two categories. HCG diet side effects caused by the HCG supplement and HCG diet side effects caused by the low calorie diet. 

Known HCG diet side effects caused by the hormone or the extraction of HCG include infection and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a condition that causes pelvic swelling, weight gain, diarrhea, vomiting, swelling of the hands and legs and shortness of breath.

Those taking HCG supplements may develop hepatitis or HIV. These infections can be transferred through urine. Unfortunately, some HCG manufacturers do not test urine before extracting the HCG, therefore unknowingly infecting HCG users.

According to HCG Diet Info, which promotes HCG diet products, HCG diet side effects may also result in multiple birth pregnancies or trigger early puberty among young men. Read more about the dangers of HCG diet.

HCG diet side effects caused by a low calorie diet

According to Healthy HCG, “there are no known serious side effects associated with homeopathic HCG itself.” While the medical community continues to explore HCG diet side effects pertaining to HCG supplements, Healthy HCG claims known HCG diet side effects can be attributed to the 500 to 800 calorie diet required by the HCG diet.

A 500 to 800 calories a day diet can negatively impact normal body function by depriving the body of nutrients, vitamins, fats and proteins it needs to stay healthy. HCG diet side effects related to this low calorie diet include constipation, headache, dizziness, malnutrition, mineral deficiencies and leg cramps. 

“Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is,” said Weight Management Expert Rebecca Scritchfield. “Weight loss is hard work and it won’t come in a potion, pill, or injection. The most ‘dangerous’ thing you should be doing to your body is trying a new exercise that intimidates you like rock climbing or completing a marathon.”

Finding the right weight loss solution

The most successful diets are ones dieters can easily stick with, said Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, director of nutrition for WebMD. These diets include a combination of exercise, healthy eating and gradual, realistic reduction in calories. Unlike the HCG diet, these are long-term diet solutions and do not come with the risk of developing HCG diet side effects such as HIV or OHSS.

A clinic study produced by the Center for Medical Weight Loss, the largest network of non-surgical medical weight loss physicians in the U.S., showed that 95.3 percent of patients on a physician-led weight loss program maintained weight loss one year after starting their diet. Currently, no evidence exists suggesting that the same for HCG diets.

If you would like to find out more about the programs offered by the Centers, you can visit their website at The Center for Medical Weight Loss, or to locate a center, enter your zip code in the area provided above.