April 6, 2015

HCG Diet: Can You Lose Weight

HCG diet
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

You’ve probably seen ads and commercials for it as if it were something new, but it’s not. The HCG Diet has been around for a good 60 years. The HCG Protocol was created by Dr. Albert T.W. Simeons and published his book, Pounds and Inches: A New Approach to Obesity in 1954.

The book is not too long and if you have a need to lose weight or an interest we suggest taking time to read it as it addresses obesity from a  historical perspective and discusses three types of fat and three causes of obesity. The book is also fascinating from a theoretical standpoint.

Dr. Simeons makes the point that we eat differently than our ancestors (even more so now than in Dr. Simeon’s day – he died in 1970). We have constant access to food and most of it is refined. Our ancestors did not and ate a more Paleo diet. This constant flooding of food we now experience has to be stored if there’s no immediate need for it to be burned.

Quickly, the three types of fat are as follows:

  • Normal fat: Normal fat is structural fat that fills the spaces between organs – this fat is a “packing” material.
  • Reserve fat: This is fat we can burn for fuel when our nutritional needs do not meet our energy needs.
  • Abnormal fat:  This fat is what leads to obesity. It has the potential to be used for energy like reserve fat, but it is locked up and not available for use because of malfunction of the diencephalon (today called the hypothalamus) of the brain.

The key to weight loss is to lose the abnormal fat – to find a way to mobilize it so it can be selectively used for energy. We now know, for instance, that it is not possible to lose fat in the presence of elevated insulin levels. Insulin locks fat up making it unavailable for fuel burning. Also, abnormal fat is difficult to tap into when estrogen and testosterone levels are low.

What happens when overweight people restrict their calories is they lose reserve fat first and then normal fat secondly, but rarely get to the locked up abnormal fat. They also tend to lose muscle from low calorie diets – not desirable. So they may lose fat, but not the fat that makes them look obese or overweight.

HCG Diet: How it Works

The theory behind the HCG diet is that when the body is flooded with a surplus of calories far more than it can use that those additional calories gets stored as abnormal fat, and what we now call the hypothalamus malfunctions.

The premise behind the HCG Diet is that HCG mobilizes the abnormal fat. HCG is short for human chorionic gonadotropin. HCG is produced normally only during pregnancy (and is produced by some germ cell tumors) and helps support pregnancy. It’s detection is the basis of pregnancy tests.

It seems that HCG either restores function to the hypothalamus or functions on its behalf. Interestingly, obese women can actually lose fat during pregnancy without harming themselves or fetus.

There’s a catch. HCG mobilizes fat from abnormal fat stores, but to do it the body cannot be overwhelmed with a lot of incoming calories. So for the HCG Diet to be successful it is necessary to restrict calories while receiving HCG. This allows the calories from abnormal fat reserves to be utilized for energy. HCG only mobilizes the abnormal fat, not the normal (structural) fat. And, it takes 3 weeks for HCG to “reset” or “re-calibrate” the hypothalamus.

How this all works will be discussed in the next article on the HCG Protocol.

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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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