Last Week’s Question was so vigorously debated that it took time to follow the threads through the emails that make up the expert commentary we bring to you each week. Here is what we asked and the information about a product that is in all the headlines right now, completely unedited and as it came into to us.
The hCG Diet is making a lot of headlines in the news. Some people are calling it a weight loss miracle, while others are calling it a scam. Where do you stand on the hCG Diet?
Are there any other products, good or bad that may have claims you want to endorse or discredit?
Personally, although I only have a few clients that have done this diet and I am not a promoter myself, I am concerned when someone is limited to 500 calories a day (see link to the HCG page). Don’t get me wrong, I know very little about this diet, but the little my clients did tell me raised red flags and one of my client’s doctor made her go off it (and I agreed).
People are impatient, which is the first problem. There is no room for impatience in the world of health, diet and fitness.
Yes, I do not doubt people are losing weight, but I’d rather someone lose body fat slowly, but permanently, than have someone lose, which hCG says you should expect as, 1-2lbs a day. That’s scary.
Also, when someone eats this few of calories, they tend to lose muscle mass, which could result in a flabby skinnier person. We have a machine that tracks this very accurately so I know for a fact when people lose muscle while dieting. I’d rather use those extra calories to help sculpt and tone muscle while losing body fat by reducing calories by allowing 1200-1500 calories a day (for a female) which is industry standards for most brand name diets.
According to this page diet (link below) seems to give you 4 choices of foods for lunch and dinner. When we teach people how to eat healthy and lose weight in our BCx Boot Camp program, we give people a caloric budget and they get to eat the foods they like as long as it fits their budget. This type of lifestyle can be maintained for life – but when someone has limited options and is on an extreme diet, in my opinion, it sets them up for getting completely tired of it and bingeing.
Although I don’t believe it is promoted to do for life, I have found when clients get on strict diets they are either “OFF” or “ON” that diet and never learn how to MAINTAIN. We teach people how to eat so they are never really on or off – it’s just a new way of life. This comes with a lot of education, which most people don’t want to go through because it takes thought, time and energy. BUT, they no longer have to rely on diet fads, a list of dos and don’ts or supplements to get results. They are now relying on the foundation of knowledge – and that lasts forever.
THIS SUMS IT UP:
ABC affiliate KSPR recently interviewed a Springfield, Missouri doctor who cautioned “It’s a way to lose weight; you do dramatically reduce weight,” BUUUUUUUUT Dr. James Bonucchi explains, “not because of the hormone-because you’re STARVING YOURSELF and paying the price for the rest of your life… (there are) problems with hair loss, some irreversible hair-loss. I see in my clinic problems with thyroid function tests being abnormal,” Bonucchi says the hormone is not only ineffective- “HCG does not replace any nutrients in the body”- he also says it’s dangerous. “Outside of pregnancy it can alter thyroid function, it can alter a woman’s ovulatory cycle. In a man it can alter testosterone production.”
All in all, in my personal opinion, it is advised you see your family practice doctor and get their input on whether this diet is for you – and don’t rely on your trainer’s advise or some sales pitch alone.
HCG is “human chorionic gonadotropin” which is a hormone produced in pregnancy, made by the developing embryo.
Other than the idea of ingesting such a substance, it was originally meant to treat endocrine disorders.
Because its an endocrine medicine, the ingredients in the hCG weight loss products are greatly diluted, amounting to a homeophathic dose – and the more reputably products will list it as “homeopathic hCG”. Or, it only contains trace amounts of hCG, so is mostly some other herb or chemical to create bulk.
Again, if this is not bad enough, the ONLY way for this embryo hormone to work is that one eats a 500 calorie a day diet. As such, why buy a pill to voluntarily starve yourself? Which is what one is doing on the ‘diet’ .. starving themselves .. because studies have already shown that hCG does NOT promote weight loss or fat redistribution or reduce hunger pangs.
Then, the recommended diet here is a “high protein, low-carbohydrate/fat” one, which is the same as the Atkins Diet – whose founder, notably, died of a heart attack. Eating a pound of bacon a day is not a weight loss method.
Otherwise, I do not advocate any DIET. They are pointless and, as in the case above, dangerous.
Lifestyle change is the only way to effectively lose weight, get in shape, and stay that way. Yet, too few want to actually change their life or their style, so diets are what they try time and again. Think about it, why is the word “yo-yo” often used to describe what happens on a “diet”?
Change your thoughts about who you are and what you want to accomplish, which begins with a bodytype analysis to determine the best foods for you. Then, exercise every day, eat wholesome food, drink pure water, laugh and love .. these are the keys to lifelong health and fitness.
Yogini Valarie Devi
Well, you know where I stand on this issue with regard to the VLOG I did on this with Will Brink.
Keeping this in its most simplistic terms, the hCG is nothing more than the latest weight loss scam in the industry and has unfortunately, been legitimized by a recent show Dr. Oz did on this subject. Dr. Oz was “called out” by Yoni Freedhoff in a recent article (http://www.weightymatters.ca/2011/02/dr-oz-so-corrupted-by-fame-he-even.html) and rightly so.
This industry has its ugly side where it prays on people’s weight loss frustrations and the instant gratification society we have become. There are many intelligent people who consciously “know better”, yet, it is the subconscious mind wanting the quick fix that takes over common sense.
We’ve all been preaching the same message. Health and fitness is a lifestyle and when you live a healthy lifestyle (which includes nourishing your body with foods that contribute to your health along with regular exercise), you will, over time, lose weight, improve your health, look great and feel great. The problem is, people expect everything to happen overnight.
I always tell people “You didn’t wake up one morning to discover that over night you gained weight, yet, you expect to wake up tomorrow morning expecting to be 20 pounds lighter over night”.
The subliminal message that is fed to people day in, day out is that you can lose weight, look great, and feel great over night just by hitting the “easy” button. We all know it doesn’t work that way, but the subconscious mind takes over leading people to make irrational decisions.
Oh Tracy, I’m sorry if it looked like I was going against your input. …and I do agree that clients can ask their trainers – IF THEY ARE LIKE YOU. The problem is, most trainers are not that knowledgeable, and sadly, even more really don’t care. I think all of us here care more than the average or we wouldn’t be volunteering our time to answer questions like this to help more people. Personally, even with my 16 years of experience, I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving my client advise on a physician diet as I don’t feel even I am qualified. I can give my personal opinion, but like I normally do, I tell them to see their personal physician first so they can weigh the risks and options.
I was just writing to the general public (as a response to the question) because as you well know, many trainers go to a weekend course and act like they know more than a doctor.
And I TOTally agree with you about many doctors not having a CLUE about fitness. I had a plastic surgeon once tell me there was nothing you could do about cellulite. haha! I’ve got a few hundred clients could tell them exactly how to lose it! ha! 🙂
Thanks to all of you who are so helpful in getting people fit. We are all in this together! 🙂
Absolutely agree with you Shari. A scam preying on desperation.
– (My short answer) –
When people ask me about this, or any other “diet” or “lose weight fast!” scheme, I ask them, “Does it teach you how to eat? Does it teach you how to workout? Because that’s what got you in here in the first place.” These schemes are unrealistic, unsustainable and often dangerous. Can you lose weight? Sure, you’re restricting calories. But the second you go back to real food and real life, so does the weight. There is no *fast*, and no magic to health and fitness. It’s food and movement. Period.
Good to see you too! I’ve been contributing to this series since week 1 and have been enjoying it.
Yes, people are very impatient. Not just with weight loss, but with everything. It’s all part of the instant world we live in and people have become conditioned to instantly having everything at their finger tips. At the end of the day, it’s not rocket science. Eat real foods that are nutrient rich, exercise consistently, don’t smoke, etc…
Don’t know if you all caught the VLOG I did with Will Brink, but I can tell you that it has certainly gotten a lot of views and got quite a conversation happening on Facebook.
Honestly, I think it’s great that we’re all talking about this and that Damon will be providing our collective opinions on this topic.