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HCG and low calories: Eating less than a lazy 8 year-old

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of calories you burn to maintain the functioning of your vital organs like the heart and lungs. The BMR is the amount of calories you would still be burning if you were in a coma, so you should eat above the BMR because you are moving around everyday.

The message boards seem like they're full of people singing the praises of HCG and the 500 calorie diet you have to be on when you are on an HCG diet as well as those who want to know all about this miracle cure for obesity. HCG does nothing for weight loss. Peer-reviewed research says so. The Food and Drug Administration says so. If you are losing weight on the HCG diet, it's because you are eating fewer calories than it takes to maintain the functioning of your vital organs. This is absolutely true regardless of what anecdotal evidence you have to say it worked for you. It's nonsense, and very low calorie diets can place you at risk for other health problems. Again, peer-reviewed research says so. The Food and Drug Administration says so. Please note, peer-reviewed research is far more rigorous than "I've done my own research." :-)

Some folks who are all about HCG say, "But wait! I ate way more than 500 calories. I ate 1000 calories, and it still worked for me!!!" Again, you are still eating below your BMR when you eat 1000 calories per day. The common recommendation is for women to eat at least 1200 calories per day and men to eat at least 1500 calories per day. Those numbers are derived from the BMR. The more active you are, the more calories you need. Let's look at some basic BMRs.

For this scenario, we are using a 30 year old women who is 5 feet, 4 inches tall.
At a weight of 300 pounds, her BMR would be 2113 calories
At a weight of 250 pounds, her BMR would be 1895 calories
At a weight of 200 pounds, her BMR would be 1678 calories
At a weight of 150 pounds, her BMR would be 1460 calories

At a weight of 100 pounds, her BMR would be 1242 calories

At a weight of 50 pounds, her BMR would be 1024 calories (THIS PERSON WOULD BE DEAD BEFORE REACHING A WEIGHT OF 50 POUNDS!!!!)

An 8 year-old girl who is 4 ft. and weighs 50 lbs. has a BMR of 1055 calories.
That girl 's daily calorie requirements at various activity levels would be:
Never active: 1270 calories
Active less than 1 hour per day: 1,490 calories
Active 1 hour per day: 1,700 calories
Active more than 1 hour per day: 2,040 calories

I am a SparkPeople member because of the wealth of information, support, and resources available here. It bothers me to see the proliferation and advocacy of unhealthy weight loss programs, especially when those programs have been shown to be nonsense. Companies and, unfortunately, doctors, are preying on the hopes and trust of people who have reached a place in their lives where they will try anything that seems like it offers a chance at losing weight. I'm judgy and skeptical. I read the negative reviews first before I buy anything on Amazon. Not necessarily qualities that others would value, but they've served me well. Ha! Others are trusting and vulnerable and more susceptible to investing their hopes and money in programs and products that are useless. Those are the people who have come to SparkPeople to learn how to change their lives that are more likely to get sucked in by the woo of HCG. There are sites out there that welcome celebration of the woo. I strongly hope this doesn't become one of them, and I sorely wish there was a ban hammer at SparkPeople sometimes.

I just needed to vent about all that in something more than a message board post. If you've searched for "HCG" on this site and are reading this blog because you thought it would help you learn more about the miracle woo, you probably haven't read this far. :-) If you have, please know that any opinions counter to what I've said are of no concern to me in much the same way that the opinion of my relative who says dinosaurs did not exist and the Apollo landing was filmed in the Arizona desert is of no concern to me on those matters.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you for this blog! I love finding more and more Sparkers who resist quackery.

    @BRIGITTETRINGAS I wouldn't trust most (not all, but most) physicians when it comes to nutrition information. They receive very little education and training in nutrition - I know because I'm married to one and most of our friends are physicians. I also work with them on a daily basis as a registered dietitian. Just because a doctor does something him/herself or is selling you on some treatment doesn't make it safe. The doctor giving tubefeeding to his patients to lose weight before their weddings for $1500 is another fine example. I am happy you lost weight - I sincerely hope you are able to maintain it and your metabolism was not damaged by following such a restrictive diet.
    3008 days ago

    "A meta analysis found that studies supporting hCG for weight loss were of poor methodological quality and concluded that "there is no scientific evidence that HCG is effective in the treatment of obesity; it does not bring about weight-loss or fat-redistribution, nor does it reduce hunger or induce a feeling of well-being."


    3008 days ago
    That doesn't even make SENSE, BRIGITTETRINGAS. That's an impossible claim, and one that completely ignores how the hormone hCG and the human body works! Don't you know what hCG does? It thickens the lining of the uterus, and helps your body ovulate. It has ZERO application outside of fertility and pregnancy.

    You have been taken in by a scam artist who is interested in the size of your wallet... not the size of your waist.

    I'm not sure where you did your research, but it clearly involved little more than a google search and reading the promoter's website, while ignore all of the mountains of warnings and research proving it's all false.
    3008 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11545374
    It's so easy to get sucked into one of these scams. Thanks for sharing.
    3008 days ago
    a voice of reason!!!!

    and yay, Dragon for getting an HCG thread pulled.

    If my Mom hears about this crap, she'll try it. It's very dangerous to have these threads promoting HCG with all the 'it worked for me' anecdotes.

    The Donner party lost a lot of weight too...but that's not the route I want to take.
    3008 days ago
    No, HCG doesn't do anything. I've done my research, too. I read the research done by actual doctors and scientists that has been published in peer-reviewed journals, and I read the information put out by the United States Food and Drug Administration . HCG has been studied in controlled studies as a weight loss tool even as far back as the 1970s. Double-blind randomized tests show that the weight loss is the same in those who are given HCG injections as in those who are given a placebo. Even the Brits and the Germans agree in their scientific communities.

    The FDA says on their website:
    "Currently, there are no FDA-approved HCG drug products for weight loss. HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that HCG increases weight loss."

    Reading information put out as evidence by the people who are trying to sell you something is not the same as doing research. Show me some double-blind research published in peer-reviewed journals and by reputable sources who are not trying to sell HCG products or services, and I'll read it. I'm also interested in anyone who can determine if folks on these low calorie diets are maintaining lean body mass (muscle) while losing fat. I'm betting not. A good hint that a website is not a reputable source of peer-reviewed scientific information about HCG is that it will have "hcg" in the web address.

    Also, the Dr. in Chicago I believe you are referring to based on your reference to his web address on your SparkPage is Dr. Mayer Eisenstein who also seems to be anti-vaccination and is married to a woman who has a "natural pharmaceutical company" whatever that means. No profit motive there. The Chicago Tribune has a great write-up about the doctor that is 4 pages long. I learned a lot about him, including:

    Dr. E and his practice HAVE BEEN SUED AT LEAST 19 TIMES for negligent care and encouraging families to engage in practices that have led to the severe disability and death of children. That's compared to the average 2.6 times for other doctors who practice OBGYN as reported by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The Tribune says he "was on the losing side of one of the largest U.S. jury verdicts--$30 million--ever awarded to the family of a newborn in a wrongful-death suit." Furthermore, he also has blamed parents of children who have died under his care, "claiming one mom 'killed the baby.'" He has also LIED ABOUT HIS PROFESSIONAL WORK HISTORY. I'm sure he means well, though, right?

    There are so many horrible things in the Chicago Tribune article about the good Dr. who lost 100 pounds that I wouldn't let him treat me for a mosquito bite. My favorite description of him was posted on the site of a lawyer who participated in one of those lawsuits: "woo friendly." LOL

    Here's the article: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/
    Just copy and paste the link into your address bar for anyone who would like to read about this tool.
    3008 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/9/2012 12:39:56 AM
    HI, Just some more info. the hcg releases 1500 to 3000 stored calories in your system from fat, which has vitamins and minerals. This means you are not just living on the 500 calories you consume. You are living on 1500 to 3000 depending on your body weight. My Dr. in Chicago lost 100 lbs and kept it of 5 years. He has hundreds of patients . I personally lost and know many people who have and feel fantastic. The proof is also that if you only consumed 500 calories you would not last long!!!!! But with hcg you are living on stored fat. I did three months of research before starting hcg and also attended the Anti aging seminar in Las Vegas which had many, many class and education on hcg. Proof is in the pudding. Thank you for your blog I'm sure you mean well. But do the research before posting wrong info. Many Blessing......
    3008 days ago
    I reported that %&#$%^$ HCG thread to the mods this morning, and they removed it, thankfully. I discovered that the Sparkpeople community guidelines don't permit the promotion of diets or advice that is directly counter to SP recommendations.

    So if HCG pops up in the forums again... report it. Be sure and quote the guidelines if you have to. Speaking as a professional mod myself, they can't be everywhere, and part of the reason those threads keep sticking around is because well... no one reports them.

    But yeah, I'm sure you saw my venting at that girl. It's so frustrating when someone refuses to believe the facts, and dismisses those facts because the person delivering them "hasn't tried it themselves."

    I don't have to get bitten by a snake to know it is a damn bad idea to drink the venom.
    3008 days ago
  • no profile photo CD9739508

    I'm so tickled and excited to read this blog post!!!

    Very well written . . . and spot-on truth!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon

    Be blessed,
    3009 days ago
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