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The following information is for educational purposes only. Due to new FDA Compounding Guidelines and Telehealth Certifications,
Nu Image Medical no longer offers the HCG Weight Loss Program. GOOD NEWS! We have developed something better and easier: WAYT-less!

Is The HCG Diet Bad For You?

Is The HCG Diet Bad For You?
The HCG diet isn't dangerous, but there are some people who have the misconception that it potentially is dangerous either in the short or long term. Some hesitate to start the diet out of a fear of health consequences or because of the fact that the diet isn't sustainable, but the key thing to remember is that the HCG diet is designed to lose weight as quickly and safely as possible, and that it was never meant to be a sustainable diet. The diet is purposely limited to a maximum of six weeks for several reasons which we will discuss in this article, and if you are in the fence you should keep in mind that no one has been harmed or suffered any long term health consequences from trying the HCG diet under medical supervision.

The diet is limited to six weeks because it is a VLCD (very low calorie diet)

The main reason why the diet is limited to six weeks at a maximum is because it is a very low calorie diet, where you are not eating any more than 500 kcal per day. This may seem a bit extreme, but the six week diet is not recommended for everyone. Many people can benefit from the three week diet instead, and the six week diet is only recommended for people who have more than 15 pounds of body fat to lose. Otherwise, the three week diet is perfectly acceptable.

There is no evidence that either the three week or six week diet are dangerous at all; there have been thousands of patients that have completed both diets and have not suffered any health consequences. As a matter of fact, patients who manage to complete the six week diet without cheating end up losing a huge amount of weight which is often life changing, and often see the reversal of many obesity symptoms.

The side effects of the hormone are mild

It is not accurate to say that there are no side effects of the HCG hormone, but the side effects are quite mild and most of them dissipate within a week or so. As the body switches into a ketogenic state, there can be several side effects and mild symptoms such as cramping, headaches, constipation, dizziness, fatigue, and cold-like symptoms. Nausea and skin rashes are rarer, and rashes can develop due to a release of built up toxins that can be stored in fat. To counteract this, a supplement like chlorella may be advisable, or a detox can also be recommended prior to starting the loading days. Patients who are interested in a colon cleanse or other detox should consult this with their medical provider prior to starting the diet, and Nu Image Medical offers a detox product that can be used with the diet.

HCG side effects vary between men and women

Side effects of HCG vary between sexes as well. Women may experience symptoms like water weight gain, a feeling of irritability, breast tenderness, and headaches. Women should also keep in mind that they may be more fertile while injecting the hormone. Men may experience some of the same symptoms such as headaches and irritability, but women more commonly get water retention. Water retention can be treated with sufficient hydration and by avoiding high sodium foods during the diet, and all of these symptoms generally resolve themselves within a few days. Nu Image Medical offers medical supervision during the first week of the diet for patients so that they can communicate any concerns about symptoms directly to their medical provider, and in most cases any symptoms will be mild and manageable.

Regardless of the short term side effects, there are no long term dangers

The HCG diet has existed for over six decades and during this long period of time there have been no serious injuries from the diet. Tens of thousands of patients have used the HCG diet without any health problems whatsoever, and in actuality those patients have almost always benefitted from the dramatic weight loss results that they achieve with the diet. The diet is often a breakthrough in weight loss for people who have tried other methods without much success, and the success rate of the diet is one of the best if not the best. The short term side effects resolve themselves as the body can quickly adjust to the hormone, and with high quality prescribed hormone injections or drops the diet is one of the absolute best ways to lose weight rapidly.

HCG is regularly used as a fertility treatment

HCG is approved by the FDA for use as a fertility treatment for both men and women, and it is even prescribed to children with hypogonadism. The hormone is prescribed at much higher doses than what is prescribed for the diet, and it is often prescribed for a much longer period of time than the six week diet. HCG can assist females with ovulation and it can increase sperm production for men, and it can also improve libido and energy levels for both men and women. If the hormone was in any way dangerous to use in the short term or long term, there is no way that the FDA would approve it for this purpose, and the fact that it is commonly used for fertility treatments should be reassuring to anyone who is considering the diet.

The very low calorie diet is safe

The 500 kcal per day diet may seem like it is a bit extreme, but it is actually quite safe on the HGC diet. If you purchase the diet from a clinic like Nu Image Medical you will receive a full medical evaluation at the start of the diet to ensure that it is safe for you. If any adjustments need to be made for the diet your medical provider will discuss that with you upfront, or another weight loss method will be recommended if necessary. You will never be approved for the diet if it is unsafe for you for any reason at all, but the vast majority of people will be approved for it.

The quality of the hormone does matter

Although the diet is safe, the quality of the hormone product definitely matters. A prescription for HCG that has been issued from a legitimate clinic or medical professional is always going to be safe for a person because a licensed medical provider will always perform a medical prescreen to ensure that the diet is safe for the patient. The do-it-yourselfers who buy hormones online from overseas sources or retailers that sell products that claim to have HCG in them are taking a major risk because the ingredients in those products are potentially dangerous, and there certainly can be adverse health consequences from using a product that doesn't have HCG in it or a harmful ingredient. The only safe way to try the diet is by obtaining a prescription from a licensed medical provider; that will guarantee that the hormone is pure and safe for injection and that there won't be any health consequences.

Obesity is dangerous

The reality is that obesity is more dangerous than anything, and the longer that you carry excess body fat the more likely you are to develop serious potential health conditions. The HCG diet may seem like it is drastic, but it really isn't, it was carefully and almost perfectly designed by Dr. A.T.W. Simeons in the 1960s and hasn't needed very many updates since then. The diet was created as a solution for people who didn't have any success with their other attempts at weight loss, and it has worked for decades to help people improve their lives and reduce their body fat without long term health consequences.

If you have any questions at all about the HCG diet, its side effects, or if have any concerns about it at all, talk to one of the experienced medical professionals at Nu Image Medical today to have your questions answered.

About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

8 min read