hCG: A Sensationalized Diet Plan

With numerous weight loss programs on the market, selecting the right one can be overwhelming, and even off-putting. So many questions: which plan will work best for your body, your current health conditions, your lifestyle? Then there is always the issue of whether the program is legitimate, and will help you to lose weight in a health-conscious way that will positively impact your life.

One weight loss plan that has fallen under much scrutiny is the hCG Diet. While versions of this hormonal dietary plan have existed for hundreds of years, it was in the 1950’s that British physician Dr. Albert T. Simeons first began marketing it as a medical weight loss strategy.
According to Dr. Simeons’ proposal, participants would experience weight loss by combining severe dietary restrictions with daily injections of the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG), particularly in the stomach, hips, and thighs. Dr. Simeons claimed that in addition to burning stored body fat, his hormonal treatment plan would ensure dieters lose more fat cells than muscle mass. It was also said that this would be achieved without severe temperament or hunger pain issues. 

Since the 1950’s, some of the hCG dietary practices have changed, though much has stayed the same.
The premise of the hCG Diet still heavily relies on the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone, naturally produced by the body, predominantly by women during pregnancy for fetal growth development. Participants will take the hCG hormone via injection or by ingesting a homeopathic version of the product. These versions are available in oral sprays, drops, or tablet form. Additionally, participants will limit their dietary intake to 500 calories per day. The extreme cut in calories is intended to retune the participant’s metabolism, allowing them to lose as much as a pound of fat per day. Combined with the hCG hormone, it is believed this will be achieved without the participant feeling famished or weak. The plan is to be followed for a total of eight weeks.
Dr. Simeons original research treated 500 patients who followed the plans for 40 days and lost an average of 20-30 lbs. Further studies conducted throughout the succeeding decades and published in a variety of medical journals have questioned the validity of the effects of the hCG hormone in regards to weight loss. Despite this, the hCG diet continues to be an attractive weight loss program. In recent years the hCG dietary lifestyle has seen a resurgence due to in part tto the endorsements of the popular television personality Dr. Oz.

Regardless of the hCG injections, any time an individual participates wholeheartedly in an extreme low-calorie diet, they will experience weight loss. As of 2016, none of the hCG products have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, citing, “There is no substantial evidence that hCG increases weight loss.”

For effective weight management solutions, contact your local Metabolic Medical Center to discuss possible options.

For further information, here are some medical research studies addressing hCG and weight loss:

  • J Diet Suppl. 2016 Nov;13(6):694-9. Evidence for, and Associated Risks with, the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Supplemented Diet. Butler SA, Cole LA.
  • Ann Pharmacother. 2013 May;47(5):e23. Effect of the human chorionic gonadotropin diet on patient outcomes. Goodbar NH1, Foushee JA, Eagerton DH, Haynes KB, Johnson AA.
  • W V Med J. 2011 Jan-Feb;107(1):12-3. "There they go again"-- hCG and weight loss. Toffle RC.
  • Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1995 Sep;40(3):237-43. The effect of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity by means of the Simeons therapy: a criteria-based meta-analysis. Lijesen GK1, Theeuwen I, Assendelft WJ, Van Der Wal G.
  • S Afr Med J. 1990 Feb 17;77(4):185-9. Human chorionic gonadotrophin and weight loss. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Bosch B1, Venter I, Stewart RI, Bertram SR.
  • Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 1987 May;47(5):297-307. [Risk-benefit analysis of a hCG-500 kcal reducing diet (cura romana) in females]. [Article in German] Rabe T, Richter S, Kiesel L, Runnebaum B.
  • J Fam Pract. 1977 Mar;4(3):445-8. A clinical study of the use of human chorionic gonadotrophin in weight reduction. Miller R, Schneiderman LJ.
  • Arch Intern Med. 1977 Feb;137(2):151-5. Human chorionic gonadotropin ( hCG) treatment of obesity. Shetty KR, Kalkhoff RK.
  • JAMA. 1976 Nov 29;236(22):2495-7. Chorionic gonadotropin in weight control. A double-blind crossover study. Young RL, Fuchs RJ, Woltjen MJ.
  • Am J Clin Nutr Feb 1973; 26(2):211-218. Effect of human chorionic gonadotrophin on weight loss, hunger, and feeling of well-being. W. L. Asher, M.D. and Harold W. Harper, M.D.
  • Am J Clin Nutr Jun 1969; 22(6):681-685. Chorionic Gonadotropin and Obesity?

Spark Your Taste Buds and Boost Your Nutrition! Let Herbs and Spices Be Your Guide!

Have you looked around your kitchen lately? 

Do you have one of those revolving spice racks given to you by a well-meaning friend or relative? Is it sitting on your countertop looking a bit forlorn with full jars of dried herbs and spices?

What about your pantry? Do you have a shelf dedicated to dried herbs and spices? How often do you remember to use them in your daily cooking?

Or do you ever wander down the spice aisle of your local supermarket in your quest for some other food item on your grocery list?

Adding a variety of flavors to the foods that you eat, there are differences among herbs, spices, and dried vegetables in your spice collection.

  • Herbs refer to the leaves of plants that can be used fresh or dried. Fresh herbs are often added to the meal preparation later in the process. Whole, crushed, or ground, dried herbs are added in the beginning stages of meal preparation.
  • Spices come from tropical plants and trees in the form of bark, roots, buds, seeds, berries, or fruit.

Spices aren’t necessarily spicy. Spices add flavor, and may or may not add an increased heat factor to your dish. Think of the flavors of cinnamon versus cayenne pepper.

  • While commonly listed as herbs or spices, dehydrated vegetables, like onion, celery, and garlic, are also found in your spice racks.  

There are many ways to start incorporating herbs and spices into your meal preparation. In fact, you may already know how to do this. If you like world cuisines, you may already know what herb and spice combinations to start with:

  • Italian food? Bring on the oregano, basil, garlic.
  • Mexican? Think cilantro, cumin, chile peppers.
  • Indian? Try curry, cloves, cardamom.
  • Greek? Add dill, lemon, mint.
  • French? Include rosemary, marjoram, chervil. 
  • Chinese? Combine sesame, anise, ginger.

Beyond this cursory knowledge of world cuisine, use a reliable, well-tested recipe. Bear in mind that you will also need to evaluate the freshness of your dried herbs and spices (each should give off a distinctive scent). You will invariably adjust the recipes according to your personal preferences.
Depending on your recipe and what herbs or spices you have on hand, follow this simple conversion: 
¼ teaspoon powder = ¾ teaspoon dried = 2 teaspoons fresh
Now how do herbs and spices boost your nutrition? With the added flavors, you will be able to reduce your calories as well as your sugar and salt intake, and maybe even those sweet and salty cravings.
Food Label Info: While food labels may use the term “spices” with out being specific, salt must be identified as a separate ingredient.

In addition to enhancing your meal, herbs and spices provide a natural pharmacy in your kitchen. As your herbs and spices come from plants, they contain phytonutrients which are designed to help your body function properly and help prevent disease by providing varying amounts of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, affecting your appetite, and even cancer prevention.

You have probably heard of garlic boosting your immune system. You have had some peppermint or ginger to settle your upset stomach. Or hot pepper to help you sweat and possibly release toxins in your body? Did that raspberry tea help relax a muscle spasm? These are those phytonutrients at work.

With the assistance of healthy recipes and meal planning, herbs and spices can help you make better food choices and help keep your body healthy.

Contact the experts at your local Metabolic Medical Center for your weight management solutions.

Healthy Lunch Healthy Child

Lunch. Lunch can be one of the most challenging meals of the day. Morning activities can be draining. Afternoon activities will require energy. A midday meal is critical.

Often, you can recognize your energy levels and  identify hunger as the source. You also often foresight to have lunches and snacks readily available to address the issue, or to have the option, within your workday, to acquire your midday meal.

And you know that a healthy nutritious midday meal, according to your individual dietary needs, will create a productive afternoon.

In creating a healthy dietary lifestyle for yourself, you have the opportunity to share this knowledge with your children and teach them a little responsibility at the same time.

Planning and packing lunch.

Now, you have a dilemma: to have your child pack a lunch or to buy a school lunch. For some this may be a time versus money issue. It may also be an issue of what healthy nutrition options are available. This will  involve learning what options are offered at the school cafeteria, vending machines, and how much time your child has for lunch. It may also include observing your child’s eating habits and a frank discussion on what your child actually eats at school.
Incorporating your child into the lunch planning will provide a sense of agency and responsibility.

1. Lunch planning. 
Lunch planning starts with the food itself. Your child can’t pack his/her lunch if you haven’t already decided what kind of food to have available for them. Include your child in the grocery shopping decisions as well as selecting healthy options. It is particularly important to read the nutrition labels  on foods marketed specifically to children. Kid-sized or finger-foods, pre-chopped fruits and vegetables, and single-servings are also useful for smaller hands.

2. Lunch transport. 
Taking your lunch to school (or work) involves more than just the food itself. What are you taking it in? A lunch box or bag? Is your sandwich wrapped in foil or a plastic bag? Do you have a thermos or water bottle? Do you need condiment containers? Or cutlery? Will your lunch need to be heated, and therefore in microwave safe containers? If you can’t refrigerate your lunch, do you have cold-packs? Are the container leak proof? Can your child open these containers without assistance?

When it’s time for everyone to put their lunches together, it is convenient to have these items in a central area.

3. Lunch packing.
When it’s lunch packing time, it is another opportunity to teach your child good nutrition. Provide a clean space and to wash your hands. Give them guidelines for healthy choices of the items available like including all five food groups and eating the rainbow, as recommended by the Whole Kids Foundation.

Your family routine will help you determine packing lunch the night before or in the morning, especially if someone wants to have dinner leftovers for lunch.

4. Lunch evaluation.
Once your children have begun packing their lunches, you may need to evaluate it from time to time, particularly if you are helping them. How much lunch is being eaten versus being brought home?

  • They may be taking too much food lunch, or the morning snack made them full. There may be an underlying health issue or an undiagnosed allergy.
  • A lot goes on at lunch time: locating their lunch, getting to the lunch room, chattering with friends, wanting to get outside to play games. Distractions abound, so sandwiches may be better than soup, bite-sized mini-meals may work better.

5. Other lunch habits.
There are other lunch and lunch packing habits that are worth reinforcing with your children:

  • washing your hands before and after eating
  • disposing of perishable food that would be potentially harmful if eaten later
  • tossing wrappers and trash away at school to avoid breeding bacteria
  • cleaning your lunch containers before packing your lunch every time.

6. Additional benefits.
When your child packs his/her lunch, they will learn some other valuable skills: time management, responsibility, nutrition, as well as a sense of agency. These skills will spill over into other aspects of your child’s life.

You can engage your child in lunch preparation and nutrition at any time during the school year, and take one more chore off of your list of household things to do.

Contact your local Metabolic Medical Center to discuss you and your child’s weight management goals and developing a healthy lunch plan.