Question for Betty.
 
I was wondering about the new HCG diet.  I have heard mixed reviews from healthcare providers that it's great or that it's dangerous.  I need to lose about 40 lbs. and with this diet it guarantees a pound lost every day because it is calorie restrictive.  I don't like that they discourage exercise, that to me is sending red flags. Thanks.
 
Betty's Answer.
 

You have some valid concerns with the HCG diet.  It is a very popular fad diet at this time.  It has been around since the 1950s, when an endocrinologist started giving HCG to obese patients to help them lose stubborn clumps of fat.  Unfortunately this is done with a near-starvation calorie intake.

HCG is a hormone produced naturally during pregnancy.  The HCG diet requires the patient to take either drops or injections of HCG and eat a very low calorie (500 calories) restrictive diet.  The American College of Sports Medicine, among other resources, recommends consuming no less than 1,200 calories when dieting.  If you are taking in less than half the recommended calories for a dieter, then you are sure to lose weight regardless of whether or not you are taking HCG. 

Your other concerns are also valid that this diet does not help the dieter to make appropriate food choices so once the plan is completed it will likely lead to rebound weight gain.  With so few calories you may experience nutritional deficiencies as well as feeling weak, dizzy, fatigued, hungry and even depressed.

You are also not changing activity patterns which will support maintaining a healthy weight when you quit dieting.

The problem with rapid weight loss programs are the increased stress put on the body.  It can be associated with fatigue, sagging skin, stretch marks, gallstones and a reduced metabolic rate.  For further information contact your health care provider or the Student Health and Counseling Center for further information on weight management alternatives.