(NaturalNews) Women in the U.S. feel constant pressure to be thin. For one thing, the United States is the most obese country in the world. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 72.5 million adults in the U.S. are currently obese. More than that, though, American society has a clear image of the ideal woman as model-thin, and many women yearn to achieve that ideal. However, instead of maintaining a healthy lifestyle of a consistently healthy diet and exercise, many women eagerly grab the newest "get-thin-quick" fad diet to lose their unwanted pounds, without thought of the consequences. Remember Fen-Phen, a dangerous combination of diet drugs that led to incurable lung problems in the dieters who used them? Well, Fen-Phen may not be prescribed anymore, but that doesn't stop women from looking for the next easy way to lose weight. Enter today the hCG diet.
The hCG diet is the newest craze for women eager to shed pounds. It has been touted as safe and effective, and all women have to do is inject drops of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a pregnancy hormone. Seems simple and easy, right? How many women will eagerly sign up for this newest diet, believing it's the answer to their prayers?
But losing weight quickly and easily isn't always safe, and despite what sales representatives say, the hCG diet isn't necessarily safe. The diet is centered on women injecting drops of hCG every day for several weeks at a time. The claim is that the hCG hormone will trigger a woman's body to "mobilize fat stores." However, there's more to the hCG diet than just the hormones. Calorie restriction is severe at only 500 calories per day. It's fairly safe to say that, on only 500 calories, women could easily achieve weight loss without hormone injections.
The biggest problem with hCG injections is that the hormone was designed by nature not to help a woman lose weight but instead to help her during her child's gestation. The FDA has approved hCG as a fertility drug, not for weight loss, and Tom Scheve of Discovery Health reports that women who take hCG as a diet aid might find it inadvertently easier to get pregnant as well. He also states that the body may mimic pregnancy, and women might also have to endure those symptoms: "swelling, breast tenderness and water retention."
It comes down to this: women (and men as well) who want to lose weight need to learn that it isn't necessarily easy. It involves a healthy diet laden with fresh vegetables and regular exercise. Pills and injections aren't the answer; a lifestyle change is.
Cindy Jones-Shoeman is the author of Last Sunset and a Feature Writer for Academic Writing at Suite101. Some of Cindy's interests include environmental issues, vegetarian and sustainable lifestyles, music, and reading.