Thinking About HCG Diet? Look Elsewhere for Weight Loss

You won’t see me promoting quick fixes or fad diets anytime soon. But every once in awhile something comes along that seems so dangerous I have to call it out. That’s why I’m going to help reveal the truth behind the HCG diet.hcg injections

What it is: HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the cells that form the placenta. This hormone is detected in the blood around 11 days after conception; it is detected in the urine around 12-14 days after conception. While it is most commonly associated with pregnancy, it is present in both genders.

What it does in the body: HCG signals the hypothalamus (area of the brain that affects metabolism) to mobilize fat stores. In pregnancy, this helps the body bring nutrients into the placenta, fueling the fetus with the energy to grow.

The weight loss claim: The HCG diet (using daily hcg injections) will help you lose 1-3 pounds per day.  The HCG-diet combines the daily injections with a very low-calorie diet (500 calories per day).

500-calories per day is severely restrictive! In fact, it is not enough calories to support normal brain function. Your body will compensate by using stores of glycogen, protein (muscle) and some fat, which lowers your resting metabolism. Before you can lose true weight, you will be so irritable, lightheaded, and cranky that you’ll reach for whatever food you can get your hands on and have a field day.

Scientific evidence: There is no scientific evidence supporting HCG injections as a weight loss strategy. In addition, these injections have not been approved by the FDA for use in weight loss. In fact, since 1975 the FDA has required all marketing and advertising of HCG to state the following: “HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.”

“HCG is a hormone extracted from urine of pregnant women. It is approved by FDA for treatment of certain problems of the male reproductive system and in stimulating ovulation in women who have had difficulty becoming pregnant. No evidence has been presented, however, to substantiate claims for HCG as a weight-loss aid.” via the FDA

HCG ban: The hormone was recently added to the list of “banned substances” in Major League Baseball, as it was becoming increasingly popular among steroid users. Athletes turned to this, among other “performance enhancing drugs” because it “mitigates the side effects of ending a cycle of steroids.”

Negative side effects: The common side effects include headaches, mood swings, depression, blood clots, confusion, and dizziness. Some women also develop a condition called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS); symptoms of this include pelvic pain, swelling of the hands and legs, stomach pain, weight gain, shortness of breath, diarrhea, vomiting/nausea, and/or urinating less than normal.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. 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.


Banned in MLB
HCG Side Effects
CalorieLab : “Weight loss is hard, and human pregnancy hormone won’t change that”
Associated Content : “HCG Marketed by convicted fraud, Kevin Trudeau”
Diet Scam Watch : “HCG Worthless as a weight-loss aid”

If you want long-term success, check out programs that have stood the test of time like Weight Watchers or the meal delivery systems like Nutrisystem or Jenny Craig. At least these programs don’t have you taking expensive drugs.

Of course, I strongly promote visiting with a registered dietitian who can evaluate your current eating behaviors and help you work toward long-term behavior change and weight loss that sticks! Most of my clients lose 30 pounds eating foods they love. It starts with some basic knowledge of nutrients and energy balance and then progresses to increasing your awareness about your personal barriers to eating healthy and how to overcome them. You have the ability to achieve the weight and the life you deserve and you don’t need pills and potions to do it.

Support My Fundraising for Cancer Research

I have a long way to go to raise $1500 for cancer research for Chicago marathon on Oct 11. Can you donate $10 today?

Quick and Healthy Dinner Ideas

Who wants to spend hours in the kitchen? I don’t. I’d rather be outside enjoying the sunset or taking a walk. Instead of sweating it out over a stove every night of the week,  take an hour or two over the weekend and prep a few make-ahead meals or get some help from the grocery store and whip up a healthy dinner without even doing so much as pre-heating the oven.

Check out these ideas for quick and healthy dinners:

  • Pick up a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, bagged salad greens, and a loaf of rustic bread from the bakery. Serve up a 3-4 ounce piece of chicken, 2 cups of greens, and a chunk of bread. Dinner is done!
  • Go cold. Why not serve up a little buffet of cold, tasty delights? How about jumbo shrimp cocktail with a cold pasta salad dressed lightly with lemon zest and olive oil? Then top it off with some cold, juicy watermelon? While it’s true the only thing these foods have in common is their temperature, you’ll appreciate it on a hot summer night.
  • Prep a couple make-ahead meals over the weekend. Think about a summer soup like this Peter’s Grill Vegetable Soup stocked full of fresh vegetables and dried herbs. Or try this vegetarian Sloppy Joe recipe below. Both of these make-ahead meals allow you to “heat and eat” for dinner in 15 minutes or less.

What’s your favorite no-cook healthy solution?

How to Choose Healthy at Coffee Shops

Don’t you just love coffee shops? Whether it’s the comfy couches, mellow tunes, or free wi-fi that reels you in, you’re bound to stick around for a while and grab a little nosh. Since coffee shops serve way more than coffee these days, it helps to have a little know-how to help you stay on track with your diet. Check out my video for coffee house healthy eating tips. It’s sure to “charge up” your next visit.

Be careful of the “silent sabotagers” – coffee beverages. Many drinks can have the calorie and fat value of desserts. A large whole milk mocha will set you back 400 calories and almost half your daily limit of saturated fat.

If you’re the kind who likes a little coffee with your sugar, try to think “less.”

  • Use less sweetener, one pump flavor shot or one sugar packet.
  • Choose fat-free milk.
  • Get a small size “designer” beverage.
  • Choose unsweetened drip coffees, Americano, or iced coffee most of the time and save the indulgent drinks for once in a while.

Pace yourself on the pastries. We all love the homemade muffins, bagels, and croissants at the coffee house. But the portion sizes can be over the top. They’ve all practically doubled in size – and fat and calories – over the last 15 years. You don’t have to totally abandon these tasty treats, but you should really make them treats!

  • Choose eggs, breakfast burritos, oatmeal, or low-fat yogurt parfaits most of the time. These choices have more protein, which will help you feel full without robbing you of too many calories.
  • Split muffins and other pastries with a friend or two so you can each have a “taste” (enjoy every last morsel) and make the bulk of your breakfast for something more nourishing.
  • Look for bran muffins or low-fat baked goods. Many coffee houses offer modest sized banana breads, hearty muffins made with with carrots, apples, and raisins. The low-fat recipes will use less oil and replace it with low-fat yogurt or applesauce.

Eat With Your Eyes to Lose Weight

My dad used to always tell me that my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I loved the look of all the food

at family picnics that I took way too much and couldn’t finish it all. Little did I know my dad was teaching me one of the best nutrition tips ever – Eat With Your Eyes!

When you eat with your eyes you get to experience the pleasure of the foods – we have more senses than just taste after all. So really soak up the appearance of the foods at parties, picnics or even the family dinner table. Appreciate them for their color and aroma. Know that you don’t “have” to try every single thing. It’s not about the food. Take a little of the most appetizing foods and enjoy every last drop of them.

Watch this video of my tips for making ordinary food look like something you just want to dive into. The best part, it’s totally nourishing.

Let me know what you think! Do you “eat with your eyes” enough? Do you think it could help you manage your portion control and enjoy your food better?

Are the Side Effects Worth Drug Damages for Obesity?

FDA investigates Alli liver damage, Glaxo reported $123 million in sales for Alli last year.

Pina Colada Smoothie Recipe

it’s tropical fruit tuesday! you will love this pina colada smoothie recipe


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