HCG Side Effects: Are They Worth It? You Bet
The HCG diet plan is an intense short term solution for losing weight. As you may have heard, HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a hormone produced during pregnancy. In a nutshell, it signals to the brain to access stores of body fat when extra calories are needed instead of going for the easier-to-burn muscle tissue.
The other major component of the diet includes a diet phase in which calories are extremely limited. For every 3,500 calories you cut out of your diet, you lose a pound. Cutting too many calories too soon for too long of a period can cause your body to slow your metabolism and attack your muscles for extra nutrition—and isn’t very good for you.
So, the HCG helps you to be on a very low calorie diet safely for a short period of time while your body burns off your fat stores. This is why I referred to it before as a short term solution. It will cause you to lose weight, but once you’ve done it, it’s up to you to keep it off. Fortunately, it’s easier to maintain weight loss than lose weight in the first place. So what have you got to lose besides lots of weight?
The diet phase especially changes how people normally eat. It’s low carbohydrate, low calorie, and high protein. If you’re used to consuming lots of sugar, fat, and sodium (and gaining weight from them) your body is going to take a couple days to adjust to this diet.
Sugar, sodium, and fat are substances that your brain actually craves. There’s an evolutionary reason: they weren’t as abundant back in prehistoric times (or even recent history), so humanity had to consume all we could find. That’s one of the reasons we find foods that are so bad for us to be so tasty.
And, I might add, that’s why food producers (like restaurants and food processors) make food high in fat, sugar, and sodium. Sodium is also used as a preservative—that’s another reason processed foods contain a lot of it—and a major reason to stay away from processed foods.
Changing the way you eat and your body composition—especially if you do it quickly—is going to change how your body feels. You may feel withdrawals for the carbs and fats that your body is used to getting so much of, especially if you have any sort of emotional attachment to eating.
If you are used to consuming large amounts of caffeinated sodas, you will probably get a headache as your body adjusts to a low-to-no caffeine intake. I have experienced headaches myself (not associated with the HCG diet) just from going off caffeine. (Coffee and tea are allowed in the diet phase so you won’t be completely deprived.)
More HCG side effects can include fatigue and moodiness. Cutting your calories is serious business. Your body needs calories to function and so cutting back on them is hard to do. There is a reason exercise is not recommended on this diet—you have too few calories available to burn anything extra.
It makes sense that your body is going to feel that there is less energy to draw from. But remember, cutting out calories is the way to lose pounds. There are dozens of reasons that people can experience moodiness while on the HCG diet.
If you are craving fat and sugar and you’re not getting any, it can cause a bit of angst. That being said, after a couple of days without those substances your body will adjust to your new diet and stop craving them.