Experts disagree about the HCG weight loss diet. Some disagreements are real, based on honest evaluations that still may be incorrect. Other disagreements are more like propaganda. Almost all articles about this protocol, pro or con, are superficial, like this one.
The quote below is from the full article here: Ten Pounds in Ten Days – A Sampler of Diet Fads and Abuse. The title already gives you an idea of the author’s perspective. My suggestion is to read through it, then take a look at my comments below.
Another strange obesity cure that was popular among physicians for a time was human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a type of growth hormone that was injected into patients. This treatment became popular in 1957, when Harper’s Bazaar printed a diet — “Slimming: A Roman Doctor’s Treatment” — that consisted of 500 calories a day for up to forty days, plus daily hormone injections. In the article, the physician, British endocrinologist A.T.W. Simeons, claimed his patients weren’t hungry as long as they took shots of HCG, which is produced by the placenta and derived from the urine of pregnant women (variations on this treatment used the urine of pregnant rabbits and mares). It’s the very hormone, in fact, that turns the stick blue on a home pregnancy test.
Human chorionic gonadotropin was legitimately used at the time to treat a condition called Fröhlich’s syndrome, a hormonal imbalance that affects young boys, disturbing their sexual development, appetite, and sleep, and causing them to accumulate fat on the hips, buttocks, and thighs. Simeons reasoned that if the drug worked to melt away the fat on those boys with a rare genetic disorder, then it ought to do the same thing on normal, healthy women. The hormone, he wrote, would cause a “normal distribution” of fat on the body and would correct a “basic disorder in the brain.” His diet book — Pounds and Inches: A New Approach to Obesity — included other gems of pseudo-medical advice, warning readers to eat no breakfast whatsoever, except for coffee, and to abstain from using any cosmetics or lotion on the body because it will be absorbed and added to the existing fat deposits in the body.
Simeon’s treatment became all the rage; for a time, it was the most widespread medication given in the United States to lose weight, and was the main treatment used in eighty Weight Reduction Medical Clinics in California. Unfortunately, it didn’t work: None of the mainly female patients seeking treatment, it turned out, were suffering from Fröhlich’s syndrome. The medical establishment only started to become suspicious of the drug when reports surfaced that part-time doctors were being offered as much as $100,000 a year by weight-loss clinics to spend one afternoon a week sitting and writing pads of prescriptions for the drug.
In 1962, the Journal of the American Medical Association warned against the Simeons diet, saying “continued adherence to such a drastic regimen is potentially more hazardous to the patient’s health than continued obesity.” In 1974, the Food and Drug Administration required producers of HCG to label the drug with a warning against using it for weight loss or fat redistribution. In Canada, the Task Force on the Treatment of Obesity warned that the use of the hormone “touches on possible malpractice.” Nevertheless, a few diet doctors continued with the treatment — it is legal, after all, for physicians to prescribe medications for purposes that are not approved by the FDA — often handing the patients the drugs and injection equipment so they could administer it themselves.
Of course, it is obvious that I am a proponent of the HCG weight loss diet. The author of the above article, Laura Fraser, is obviously not. We could get into a “he said-she said” argument here, although I would rather leave that kind of approach to politicians. Ms. Fraser is obviously a well-respected journalist who has published a wide variety of articles in big magazines, as well as a set of her own books. She has put a lot of effort into exposing the diet industry and assembled her research into a book (now at Amazon), Losing It: False Hopes and Fat Profits in the Diet Industry
Journalistic research is, unfortunately, often too superficial to be of real use to anyone. Research of this nature usually entails digging up old magazine articles, which are superficial in themselves, and interviewing experts. The chosen experts have a huge impact on the perspective of any book’s author. This is not what I call original research.
To give you a idea of what original research looks like, you have to go to the scientific publications that have been published on a particular topic in peer-reviewed research journals. Fortunately, we have a national database called PubMed that lists most research articles published over the past several decades.
I have already reviewed some of the research on HCG in an online article that I published here: Real-Medical-Research-on-the-HCG-Weight-Loss-Diet.
Just for the sake of comparison, take a look at my article and see how it differs from the excerpt that I quoted above. If you are truly thoughtful about the HCG weight loss diet, then keep in mind the sources of the information behind these two views.
All the best with the HCG weight loss diet,
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