The hCG diet shares a common issue with many other approaches to weight loss: i.e., dehydration. Weight loss during the first few days of the protocol is driven mostly by loss of fluid. Drinking plenty of water is good advice, although it is incomplete. Here is what else you should do for good health and weight loss success in the face of dehydration.
HCG Diet Side Effects
Dehydration is clearly one of a handful of side effects of the hCG diet protocol. Certain others have been known since the Simeons protocol was first developed in the 1950s. Besides dehydration, the most important ones to watch out for were outlined in a previous article here: HCG Diet Dangers.
Understanding Dietary Fluid Loss
Accelerated fluid loss is typical of many diet protocols. Initial weight loss in the Atkins Diet, for example, is super fast due to it. In this and many other diet plans, that is why the weight loss seems so fast for a week or so, then levels off. The reason is that water is held in with storage carbohydrates (i.e., glycogen) in a ratio of about 5:1 by weight.
Fluids get dumped as the storage carbs get used up while dieting.
The same thing happens in the early days of the hCG protocol, too. Once most of the fluids have been eliminated, the turning point for the hormone-driven metabolism of unwanted fat becomes more obvious. Weight loss then proceeds mostly by fat loss.
Fluid balance is behind the advice for doing an ‘apple day‘ when you hit a weight loss plateau while on the hCG protocol. It is why doing an apple day requires you to drink as little as possible while you eat only apples for an entire day.
For your review, here is an earlier article explaining the simple strategy for getting the most out of an apple day: HCG Diet Plan – Simple Rules For An Apple Day.
Hydration: More Than Just Water
Dehydration is not just a matter of fluid loss. It also involves loss of electrolytes. The main electrolytes of importance are sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride. Calcium and phosphorous have important roles, too.
Even though drinking plenty of water is a good thing, too much pure water will wash out electrolytes. One clinical result is a condition called hyponatremia, which means having too little sodium.
In my experience, electrolyte depletion typically causes muscle cramps, particularly in my lower legs.
The simplest way to reverse electrolyte depletion is to drink mineral water of some kind. Spring water might be the best source. The difficulty with spring water is finding a reliable product. Water labeled ‘spring water’ at supermarkets is not necessarily dependable.
Deionized water, RO-filtered water, or distilled water will not suffice. If anything, they are the culprits behind electrolyte depletion, since their mineral content is zero or too low to be helpful.
By the way, tap water in many cities contains varying amounts of minerals. However, many common additives to city water supples can undermine your health. Fluoride is the worst of the worst. It is incredibly bad for human health. Don’t fall into the trap of disinformation about its benefits that government agencies have been putting out for the past few decades. Fluoride is absolutely awful stuff!
My Personal Strategy
After digging around on the internet, I did some experimentation to find how I could hydrate without developing any symptoms of electrolyte depletion. My most reliable indicator is lower leg cramps in the middle of the night. Truly a bummer.
When I drink plenty of RO water during the day, leg cramps almost always wake me that same night.
However, when I add a quarter teaspoon or so of sea salt to each liter of water I drink during the day, I have no leg cramps whatsoever during the night.
By the way, the best sea salt products are colored (grayish or pinkish) and clumpy. Pure white, easy-to-pour products are over-refined. Avoid them.
Fear of Sodium
Worries about blood pressure and too much sodium are overblown. You have to have plenty of sodium for optimal cellular metabolism of any kind!
Furthermore, the sodium balance inside and outside of every cell helps the potassium balance. An appropriate sodium-potassium balance is crucial for good health.
Crucial Point About Cellular Water
Most folks think of water in its bulk form – i.e., H2O. The benefits of cellular water, however, depend on water structure. Dr. Gerald Pollack, at the University of Washington, has been studying the structure of cellular water and its importance for optimal metabolism. A fairly easy to understand article on what this means is available on Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website here: The Fourth Phase of Water – What You Don’t Know About Water, and Really Should.
It is an absolutely fascinating topic that everyone should know about and capitalize on. Take some time when you have a few minutes to explore what Dr. Pollack has to say in that article.
The best advice on what everyone can do to make sure that their cellular water is structured properly is to add the energy required for building and maintaining that structure. Fortunately, the source of energy is all around you. It is merely infrared light.
Infrared light is easy to come by. It is available in sunlight all day long, from early morning to early evening. Artificial sources – lamps, saunas, etc. – are also helpful. They are just not as effective as what Mother Nature already provides in sunshine.
However you do so, make sure that your electolyte-balanced rehydration strategy includes a healthy dose of infrared light to make your cellular water work right.
All the best in natural health,