I am not a fad diet person. No way no how. If you want to live healthy, you won’t find it in an artificial, short term “diet”. You will find results in eating a clean, close to the source diet. Pure and simple. I don’t waste my time trying to debunk fad diets, because fad diets are all the same in my eyes: Products that promise only short term success. But your life isn’t short term is it? So why should your diet.

no-fad-dietsHowever, I came across a diet recently that I feel obligated as a fitness professional to mention it as it could be very harmful to you. There is one diet that is sadly growing in the weight loss community. The HCG diet is an inject and a low calorie diet that is rapidly gaining popularity as people like Dr. Oz sell out and promote this diet.

So let’s start with some facts:

HCG is short for human chorionic gonadotropin. It is a hormone produced during pregnancy by cells that form the placenta. It is detect in the system around 11 days after conception. HCG signals the hypothalamus to mobilize fat stores. In regards to being pregnant, it helps bring nutrients into the placenta, feeding the fetus as it grows.

So why HCG for weight loss?

The claim on HCG is that daily injects will allow you to lose 1-3 pounds a day as they engage in a 500 calorie a day diet. The injects, in theory, utilize the fat storage’s for fuel better and the low calorie diet allows for more weight loss as you are not putting more fat into our system. You follow the system for 45 days to suppress hungry, use fuel better and in turn, lose weight.

There are facts. Now, let’s look at some other facts.

The brain needs 400-500 calories a day to function properly. Eating a 500 calorie diet does not allow any other calories for the rest of our body. If your body doesn’t get the calorie it needs, it will overcompensate by using the stores of glycogen and protein. This process actually lowers your resting metabolism.

Injecting any hormone into your body messes with the natural balance of the body. The body is a well oiled machine. It knows what it needs, when it needs it, and how much it needs it. When you add hormones, your body again overcompensates again and could possible stop naturally producing the hormone that is added.

Now for some opinion on this matter.

WHAT THE HELL ARE PEOPLE THINKING!!!!

First off – 500 calories? I don’t know who in their right mind thinks that this amount of calories is safe, or effective, but it sure for hell wasn’t a nutritionist, dietitian, fitness professional, or someone with any common sense whatsoever. Considering it takes that amount of calories just to keep the brain functioning, much less the rest of the organs functioning and keep your metabolism going. And how exactly is the body going to find all the vitamins, nutrients and minerals you need ever day via only 500 calories. Remember, the recommended daily intake is based off of 2000 calories. You need calories to burn calories. Not eating calories won’t allow you to lose weight. Your body needs calories to burn energy!! Chances are that if you eat that few calories, you will burn some fat, but also some muscle mass. And when you go off of the diet, guess what is going to come back? Not the muscle mass.

Second, injections? Since when is that safe. Injecting any hormone into your body could potentially lead to the body no longer naturally producing that hormone. Think about this risk with a hormone produced during pregnancy. If your body thinks it can produce a hormone while you are pregnant, and you actually get pregnant, there could be a chance that your body won’t produce that hormone during the pregnancy. What effects will that have on the pregnancy? Doesn’t seem to be any research on that. Funny how that works, huh? Also, in regards to HCG, there is no research that HCG actually helps with weightloss. There is research out there on what it does during pregnancy. And there are “testimonials” that tell people they have lost weight on HCG. The starvation of 500 calories may have helped in that manner.

Bottom line: If it sounds too good to be true, guess what, it probably is. Nothing beats hard work and dedication. There are no quick fixes, magic potions or injections that will get you results. Quality, long lasting results come with quality, long lasting results. No shortcuts. No BS. Just get the results you need by putting in the effort. It truly is that simple. Stay away from fad diets, especially ones that are so harmful.

To Your Health,

~Zach