What does fact checked mean?
At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
The hCG diet pairs human chorionic gonadotropin shots or supplements with a very low calorie eating plan. A large part of the allure off the hCG diet is that its advocates claim that you'll lose weight in problem areas, such as your hips, stomach and buttocks. However, if you're feeling weak on the hCG diet, the extreme calorie restriction probably has something to do with it. A diet this low in calories can lead to more than just fatigue -- it can be hazardous to your health.
hCG and Dieting
Human chorionic gonadotropin has long since been proven an ineffective treatment for weight loss, says Stephen M. Barrett, co-founder of the National Council Against Health Fraud 1. The hCG diet was founded and promoted by a British physician, Albert Simeons, back in the 1950s. Simeons proceeded to open a chain of weight loss treatment centers where hCG injections were given to patients; they were also placed on a rigid diet. In the mid-1970s, the Federal Trade Commission prohibited Simeons from asserting that hCG caused weight loss. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration subsequently required hCG to have labeling stating: "HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity." So if hCG isn't what makes this diet effective, something else does: all signs point to the diet's extremely low calorie meal plan.
If you're feeling weak on the hCG diet, this could be due to the low number of calories you consume. The hCG diet Simeons developed requires you to eat only 500 calories a day. The number of calories allowed on the hCG diet is far less than what people on medically-supervised very low calorie diets consume, which is around 800. Side effects of such extreme calorie restriction include weakness, lethargy, light-headedness, fainting and low blood pressure. The American Association of Bariatric Surgeons points out that the hCG diet doesn't give you enough protein, a nutrient you need for healthy muscles.
Weakness and fatigue may be the least of your worries on the hCG diet; the Weight-Control Information Network indicates that one complication of diets under 800 calories is gallstones, which are more common in women. Such extreme dieting can also cause serious health complications that affect your the rhythm of your heart. In December 2009, CNN.com published a report about Samantha Clowe, a woman in her mid-thirties, who died from cardiac arrhythmia after seeking treatment at a U.K. weight loss center. A potential cause: the woman's 530-calorie diet.
Scott and White Healthcare indicates that extremely low calorie diets such as the hCG diet are likely to fail; diets lower than 1,100 calories are more likely to prompt you to overeat or binge. Also, you can lose up to 30 percent muscle on these diets, along with a lot of water weight. There's no doubt that cutting calories is essential to get you back to a healthy weight. However, your diet shouldn't make you feel weak, tired or put your health at risk. The Weight-Control Information Network cautions you never to undertake a very low calorie diet without your physician's recommendation. Successful, permanent weight loss is built on a foundation of healthier eating habits and lifestyle modifications, such as adding regular exercise to your routine.
- Duka82/iStock/Getty Images