UPDATE: See our interview: hCG Diet Reviewed by FullBar’s Dr. Michael Snyder
You won’t see me promoting quick fixes or fad diets anytime soon. But every once in awhile something comes along that seems so dangerous I have to call it out. That’s why I’m going to help reveal the truth behind the HCG diet.
What it is: HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a hormone produced during pregnancy by the cells that form the placenta. This hormone is detected in the blood around 11 days after conception; it is detected in the urine around 12-14 days after conception. While it is most commonly associated with pregnancy, it is present in both genders.
What it does in the body: HCG signals the hypothalamus (area of the brain that affects metabolism) to mobilize fat stores. In pregnancy, this helps the body bring nutrients into the placenta, fueling the fetus with the energy to grow.
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Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, ACSM HFS is a Washington, D.C. based dietitian and weight management expert. Together with Bernie Salazar, at-home winner of The Biggest Loser, she co-created “The Nurture Principles” – Five mantras to help people change their lives and find wellness within.
If you’ve ever lost weight by cutting calories then you can understand the allure of restricting further to accelerate weight loss. But just because a little is good – more is not better. An eating plan that is too restrictive is a first-class ticket to sabotage. Find out if your current plan needs loosening up.
You cut out foods you love.
If your diet has you avoiding specific foods, especially ones you love, it is essentially setting you up for failure. There’s no reason that even the most “forbidden” food can’t be included in a healthy eating plan. You deserve to love the foods you eat. Include a small portion of something that satisfies – whether you crave sweet or salty foods.
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Dr. Oz explains to Oprah how a calorie-restricted diet could be key to anti-aging. (via Oprah.com)
Recently on Oprah, medical guru Dr. Oz discussed the benefits of purposefully restricting your daily caloric intake in order to add more years to your life. A calorie-restricted diet also lowers cholesterol, blood pressure and body fat, all of which, when they are high, are linked to a host of diseases. In fact, Dr. Oz says calorie restriction is the number one way doctors say we can extend longevity.
“The data that we have in rodents and some larger animals now indicate you can probably extend your life expectancy by up to 50 percent potentially from doing this,” says Dr. Oz.
So exactly what is calorie restriction? On a calorically-restricted diet you are reducing the amount of your daily calories by 20 to 25 percent, by consuming foods that are nutritious, low in calories and unprocessed. Tons of fruit, vegetables and moderate amounts of protein with small amounts of fat comprise the basic features of the calorie restriction way of eating; while sugar, processed foods, most saturated fats, flours and some grains are avoided.
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There are so many roads that lead to the same weight loss destination. But according to a review of dozens of clinical trials, the best path to shedding pounds is the old-fashioned way of calorie-cutting and exercising.
In an analysis of 80 weight-loss studies, researchers found that approaches focusing on trimming calories – with or without exercise – were most effective at keeping the pounds off over four years.
On average, participants shed 11 to 19 pounds, then typically gained a little bit back over time.
The study, reported in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, stated that diet and exercise can work over the long haul if people stick to it and have realistic expectations. But, according to the researchers, people need to be prepared for weight loss to taper off after six months.
“Although there is some regain of weight, weight loss can be maintained,” write the researchers, led by Marion J. Franz, a registered dietitian and health consultant with Minneapolis-based Nutrition Concepts by Franz Inc.
Weight-loss medication also seemed to help somewhat in keeping the weight off over the longer-term.
Learn more about a calorie restriction diet.