Why all the fuss about the HCG Diet? Is the diet unsafe? If not, is it ineffective? These questions and more were on my mind as I approached Jennifer Margolies, the Program Director for the Fast Weight Loss Centers in Dallas, TX, to talk about the controversial HCG diet. Thankfully, Mrs. Margolies accepted my invitation and agreed to share some of her time to discuss the experiences she has had with HCG diet and other medical weight loss plans.
After exchanging a few pleasantries, I decided to open the interview with the question that I found to be the most intriguing. Though I have never used HCG for dieting purposes, and though I do not consider myself a future candidate for the diet, I have become fascinated with all of the chatter surrounding the diet and its effects. It seems to be a polarizing topic with ardent supporters in both camps. Wanting to get to the heart of this controversy, I first asked Mrs. Margolies to share her thoughts regarding the discord, skepticism, and (sometimes) venomous rhetoric that surrounds the HCG diet. Given the biased hyperbole that is so often associated with this particular debate, I found her candor and balanced response to be pleasantly shocking.
(Jennifer) “Weight loss is not just about losing weight. Often times those who struggle to lose weight are battling several issues. There are those who do not adhere to the HCG diet who suspect their own issues would not be properly addressed by such a drastic weight loss plan. I do believe that if these people would give HCG a try they would discover that it is more well-rounded than they presume. Also, there are different types of HCG that are available. There are HCG injections which I believe to work the best. There are also homeopathic diet drops that can be unsafe and ineffective. Perhaps some of the scepticism is aimed at the diet drops. Honestly, it is a really low calorie diet. Because it is more extreme that your average diet it is going to be subjected to medical scrutiny. This is why we encourage anyone who is interested in the diet to consult their physician and to proceed under their supervision. Ultimately, I think the main thing is finding what works for you. If you're the type that likes to nip things in the bud and lose weight in a focused amount of time, then the HCG will be good for you. If you want a lengthier amount of time, you may want to look into different options that can allow you to have a higher caloric intake over an extended period of time.”
Satisfied with this answer, I asked Jennifer to discuss how the diet has evolved over the years. I wanted to know how static and rigid the diet plan is and I was curious to learn if different proponents approached the diet in varying ways. Her response was informative.
(Jennifer) “HCG dates back to the 1950's and a doctor named A.T.W. Simeon. There has been more research lately regarding the extent of the HCG program and how it works physiologically with patients. Dr. Simeon had certain understandings that now appear outdated… Like one cycle was 40 days, and after 40 days the body becomes immune to the HCG. Thats why one cycle is 40 days. Dr Emma, From Dr. Oz's show, has done extensive research at the university level and has proven that physiological changes can be made after the 40 day mark. Our program is 40 days because we believe after 40 days people like to take a mental break and stabilize their weight. If someone were to continue, they would go six weeks in between cycles. We call this period the post protocol. After six weeks of post postrocol you can start another program or another cycle. Dr. Emma also does a higher caloric amount, depending on the person, and extends the cycle beyond 40 days so patients can go a couple of months if they want. Again, Dr. Simeon was in the 50's, so there's obviously going to be advancements.”
With the meatier questions out of the way, I continued the conversation by asking Jennifer a seasonal question. With the holiday season fast approaching, I was interested in whether or not the HCG Diet was compatible with “cheat days”. Her response was somewhat unexpected.
(Jennifer) “In my opinion, the HCG Diet is not very compatible with the holidays. If you are going to do the HCG Core Diet, you can't really vary from it. It's gotta be consistent. So you can't really participate in the way you normally would. If you are in the post-protocol, which is the stabilization period, you could eat the lean protiens, fruits and vegetables… the white meat part of the turkey breast with some green beans on the side. You can find within the menu a few good options. You don't have to eat the stuffing. Ultimately… I would recommend that if you are on the HCG Diet you should be able to be focused and know that you are going to stick to it. Its not something you want to start a week before you go on a cruise.”
Thankful for her honesty, I hoped to squeeze one more question in before wrapping up the interview. Assuming every HCG proponent would have a preferred diet-friendly dish, I asked Jennifer to share her favorite pro-HCG recipe.
(Jennifer) “Oh gosh. There is a really good salad dressing that I enjoy. I think people really have a challenge trying to figure out what to do with their plain lettuce. The recipe consists of equal parts Splenda (or Truvia), water, and white vinegar. Lets say a quarter cup of each. It's a really good option. I even eat it when I'm not on any form of a diet. It is a nice, tangy option. When you're on the HCG cycle you do have to get creative. There's also a lot of creativity online. But you have to be careful. Our program tends to be stricter than some others, therefore you will not see some of those things on our menu.”
After hearing her final answer I was glad to let Jennifer go in order to honor her time. It was the least I could do in exchange for your generosity and sincerity. Though the interview was brief, I was more than satisfied with the answers I received. The short time spent with Jennifer gave me a better understanding of the HCG Diet and an appreciation for those who continue to promote the diet.