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"Forty pounds in 40 days-an astounding pound every day ...It sounds too good to be true, soon you are going to meet some people, including doctors, who've completed this weight loss plan and say it's changed their lives."
With those words to his studio audience, and the millions viewing his show nationwide, Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., launched a groundbreaking episode of 'The Dr. Oz Show' that investigated what may be the most controversial- and at the same time, the most effective- weight-loss approach ever.
Dr. Oz cautioned his viewers up front that what he was preparing to discuss was intense: a fast-acting plan that some in the medical community warn can be detrimental and also dangerous, while other medical professionals contend it is a legitimate weight-loss option to fight against the obesity epidemic in the United States. Also divided were the individuals who have tried this diet: Some in Dr. Oz's studio audience declared that it caused anxiety and fainting, even though many others happily stood up an testified how the program can help dieters drop one pound or more every day-even people that was unable to shed weight on another regimen.
The red-hot plan in the center with the controversy: the hCG diet, which, as Dr. Oz explained, "actually goes back to the 1950s, when Dr. Simeons claimed that human chorionic gonadotropin [hCG], a hormone produced during pregnancy to guarantee a fetus gets needed nutrients, could also promote weight loss. How? Simeons states, "by quelling a person's appetite while simultaneously encouraging the body to get rid of fat."
He paired 40 daily doses of the hormone with a diet consisting of only 500 calories per day. His reasoning: hCG energizes the body to make use of trapped fat for energy, and this released fat fuels our bodies so dieters don't experience the hunger and fatigue very often accompany other drastic, low-calorie diets.
Initial research into Dr. Simeons's approach was promising- in fact, a well documented study found out that women participating in the diet lost around 20 pounds in 30 days, and 87 percent reported feeling "little or no hunger." Subsequent research disputed the diet's effectiveness, but a 2010 study inside Bariatrician (a journal published from the American Society of Bariatric Physicians) offers more evidence that hCG does work: Subjects put on the dietary plan lost 30 percent more importance than counterparts who were put on a conventional meal-replacement plan, dropping around 20 pounds (and as much as 37 pounds) in five to six weeks.
"But here's the deal," Dr. Oz cautioned: "After Fifty years of research, there's still no proven medical reason why hCG would stop you from getting hungry, even though people on the diet say that it is the case." The "unproven" status of hCG produces a concern to the FDA, which requires the following statement inside the drug's labeling: "hCG hasn't been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the management of obesity. There's no substantial evidence it increases weight loss beyond that due to calorie restriction, it results in a more inviting or 'normal' distribution of fat, or which it decreases the hunger and discomfort connected with calorie-restricted diets."
And Dr. Oz does acknowledge the FDA's reasoning: "I started out this show doing my research, I was very negative regarding the hcg diet protocol. And I also want to be precise on this: I utterly trust what the FDA says." But his concern for the health of the increasing amount of people facing obesity drew him to re-examine the approach. "I recognized there are some real legitimate folks out there who seem to be successful with this particular diet. I got curious," he was quoted saying while making a recent appearance on ABC's Good Morning America. "Is it possible there's truth to what is happening with this hcg diet protocol which may throw open a vista of opportunities for all of us and help the numerous Americans who want to lose fat?"
Clearly men and women who've also been helped through the hCG diet-and physicians who've seen its outstanding results-believe that is the case. "People visit me and say, 'I've tried everything to lose the extra pounds, and none of my attempts worked. This may very well be my last resort' says Sheri L. Emma, M.D., a weight-loss specialist in Brick, New Jersey, who appeared on The Dr. Oz Show. "And with this program, they respond. They do incredibly well. It's actually a life changing experience for most of my patients."
In light of the tremendous anecdotal data, Dr. Oz has acknowledged, "Sometimes the experience of real people doesn't agree with the science. And sometimes it is because the science hasn't evolved." When it comes to hCG, this is a situation that will most likely change. "When we see real people achieve results that work, we within the medical profession must pay attention," Dr. Oz said. And health professionals who know more about hCG are actually finding methods to fine-tune Dr. Simeons's first protocol that will make the program as safe as it can be while maintaining its usefulness. Here, the hormone as well as the diet plan behind the hCG phenomenon.
The hCG hormone will come in injectable form through doctors who prescribe it, becoming part of a medically supervised weight-loss program. (Though not approved as a weight-loss drug, the hormone has been approved by the FDA as a fertility strategy for years, in much higer doses, therefore it is legal for health professionals to prescribe it "offlabel" for other reasons, such as weight-loss.)
Those who follow this path pay a fairly penny-in the price range of $600 to $1,500 to get a four-to eight-week program, which can be repeated to offer the desired results. But individuals who have slimmed to their 'happy weight' and restored their health and vitality put the price in perspective: Patty Christopher, 50, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had previously been scheduled to have a Lap-Band procedure when she found out about hCG through a newspaper article, shares, "I knew I needed to try this diet before spending $16,000 on surgery." She did, and subsequently lost 92 pounds with the aid of the injections.
It's also important to remember the cost of a good hCG program consists of more than just doses of the hormone. Individuals have a full health workup before the drug is prescribed and they are monitored carefully during regular rechecks/office visits while they're following a protocol. Sheri L. Emma, M.D., who prescribes hCG injections to her patients, explains, "Medical supervision is important as it permits us to track a client's progress, keep close track of any underlying medical conditions and address any problems they might have and then we can correct them early." One of many conditions might occur, in line with the drug information and facts for hCG: headaches, depression, breast enhancement and blood clots. But doctors who utilize the protocol explain that doses used for weight reduction are a fraction of those prescribed for fertility. Perhaps this is exactly why, out of the side effects listed above, the clinicians consulted as research for this article specified only headaches as an concern for these patients. As well as the American Society of Bariatric Physicians, which doesn't officially endorse hCG, has stated that "no significant harmful results of hCG injections have been described or outlined within the medical literature."
Another popular hCG form (which Dr. Oz disclosed on-air that his wife, Lisa Oz, has tried): oral drops which are taken sublingually by placing them beneath the tongue. Prescription drops are widely-used in physician-directed systems that are equivalent in physician supervision (and usually slightly reduced cost) to people who opt for hCG injections.
A third hCG option that is certainly widely available-and quite suspect: homeopathic drops sold without a physician's prescription. "It's an easy task to order items professing to contain hCG over-the-counter and internet-based, though many have little if any trace from the hormone," Dr. Oz informed his audience. With this in mind, Dr. Oz has taken a firm stance against homeopathic hCG diet drops sold without a prescription.