If you want to shift the pounds, you know the drill. Eat more healthily, do more exercise and give your lifestyle an overhaul. But now some women are turning to another much more extreme way to lose weight, which involves ingesting a compound found in the placenta and urine of pregnant women. And, unsurprisingly, it’s got weight loss experts worried.
The HCG diet involves taking supplements or injections of HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, combined with an extremely low calorie diet of just 500 calories. HCG is a hormone first produced by the embryo in the early stages of pregnancy and then the placenta during pregnancy to help nourish the womb. Promoters of the supplements believe that because calories are re-routed from mum to fetus during pregnancy, taking the hormone could help curb appetite and allow takers to get through a day on a low calorie intake.
But even if you can get past the idea of ingesting ingredients from another women’s placenta *gags*, experts are warning that these so-called weight loss plans could actually be unsafe and may not even work in the first place.
“Multiple trials have been done and shown it doesn’t generate weight loss, it doesn’t generate a sense of wellbeing and it doesn’t suppress appetite,” Professor John Dixon, the head of clinical obesity research with the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne told Daily Mail Australia.
What’s more the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has labelled HCG supplements illegal and fraudulent, and has banned direct-to-consumer sale. But because HCG is approved for other reasons, such as fertility treatments, doctors can prescribe it if they choose.
“These products are marketed with incredible claims and people think that if they’re losing weight, HCG must be working,” Elizabeth Miller, of FDA’s division for non-prescription drugs and health fraud previously told Glamour in a statement. “But the data simply does not support this, any loss is from severe calorie restriction. Not from the HCG.”
According to the NHS the recommended calorie intake per day is 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 for men, while the lowest according to National Institutes of Health is 1,200 for women and 1,500. Experts believe restricting calories beyond those limits should only be done under medical supervision because of the health risks.
It isn’t the first time the controversial diet plan has been on the health radar. In the 70s and 80s the HCG diet supplements saw a surge in popularity, but concerns were raised over the health risks associated with consuming such a low calorie diet.
“Some of the methods used in the 70s and 80s were very dangerous. It led to electrolyte problems, kidney issues and even some deaths,”’ Professor Dixon told Daily Mail Australia.
He said a series of trials done during the 1990s had discredited HCG diets and concluded that there was no scientific evidence HCG was effective in aiding weight loss.
So, even if you can get your head round the whole eating a pregnant woman’s placenta thing, it probably wouldn’t work anyway.
Think we’ll stick to the gym thanks.
What do you think of the diet plan? Let us know @YahooStyleUK