Simeons Protocol Review - HCG Diet
Here is my review of Simeons Protocol/HCG Diet. There is a lot of controversy around this diet, mostly because Kevin Trudeau attached his name to this diet by writing a book called "The Weight Loss Cure." Actually, he discovered the protocol and then added a bunch of his own ideas on how to improve it and wrote a book about it. The original protocol created by Dr. Simeons is much older and has nothing to do with him.
Background: I've been weight training consistently since junior high and seriously off and on for the last 4 years or so. Last January I moved to New York from California for a new job. Between trying to get my affairs in order, 6 months of going away parties, being in a much more stressful job, working long hours, not having typical grocery stores - I had gained around 40 pounds. I'm a classic endomorph, so gaining muscle is easy, but so is fat, especially when I really enjoy eating and drinking. Over the last few months, I have finally fallen back into a consistent weight training/cardio routine with much healthier eating habits through sheer will. Living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan without typical grocery stores (only corner markets) makes it difficult to eat healthy as my options aren't what I was used to living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over the last few months, I have steadily been dropping weight, but it has been slow going at 2-4 pounds per month. At my heaviest, I weighed around 258 and had dropped down to 246.5 when I started the diet.
Reason for Choosing Simeons Protocol: I'm an open minded individual, who despite that remains empirically skeptical. When it comes to supplements, training routines, diets, etc, I look for two things: Scientific Data and Real World Feedback. A lot of times, these things are based on bro-science, self-proclaimed guru babble, or other irrelevant data. Other times they're based on legit science, but never seem to pan out in the real world. I found Simeons Protocol extremely interesting for two reasons. People who have actually gone through it and provide feedback overwhelmingly speak very highly of it. I have seen enough logs and reviews (with pictures) that it's obvious there is something to it. Also, the people who speak poorly of it, almost never have gone through the diet. My overall impression is that it has extremely positive feedback after you sift through all of it. The second thing that caught my eye was that a doctor was actual using this in a clinical setting and attained consistent results. It was at that point I started going through any all of the studies I could find on it. After reading abstracts, you'll find that the results are extremely inconclusive, but if you go through the actual studies you'll realize the ones that have discredited the protocol did not follow the strict guidelines of it. So, after pricing it out, I figured what the hell, and might as well try it because I'm just straight up fat.
About Dr. Simeons: A.T.W. Simeons, MD, was born in London and graduated in medicine (summa cum laude) from the University of Heidelberg. After post-graduate studies in Germany and Switzerland he was appointed to a large hospital near Dresden. Later he became engrossed in the study of tropical diseases and joined The School of Tropical Medicine in Hamburg.
In 1931 Dr. Simeons went to India and stayed for eighteen years. He discovered the use of injectable atebrin for malaria (for which he was awarded a Red Cross Order of Merit) and also a new method of staining malaria parasites, which is now known as "simeons Stain".
During the War he held several important posts under the Government of India and conducted extensive research on bubonic plague and leprosy control, and a model leper colony which he built has now become an all-India center. It was during these years that his interest in psychosomatic diseases began to grow.
In 1949 Dr. Simeons left India and went to Rome, where he now works on psychosomatic disorders at the Salvator Mundi International Hospital. He is the author of several medical books and has contributed to many scientific publications.
Dr Simeons Protocol Forward (Pounds & Inches): I recommend anyone interested read the entire manuscript. I'll summarize as best as possible using selections from it.
Dr Simeons Protocol Summary (Pounds & Inches): The concept of this diet is based mainly this observation made by Dr. Simeons.This book discusses a new interpretation of the nature of obesity, and while it does not advocate yet another fancy slimming diet it does describe a method of treatment which has grown out of theoretical considerations based on clinical observation.
What I have to say is an essence of views distilled out of forty years of grappling with the fundamental problems of obesity, its causes, its symptoms, and its very nature. In these many years of specialized work thousands of cases have passed through my hands and were carefully studied. Every new theory, every new method, every promising lead was considered, experimentally screened and critically evaluated as soon as it became known. But invariably the results were disappointing and lacking in uniformity.
I felt that we were merely nibbling at the fringe of a great problem, as, indeed, do most serious students of overweight. We have grown pretty sure that the tendency to accumulate abnormal fat is a very definite metabolic disorder, much as is, for instance, diabetes. Yet the localization and the nature of this disorder remained a mystery. Every new approach seemed to lead into a blind alley, and though patients were told that they are fat because they eat too much, we believed that this is neither the whole truth nor the last word in the matter.?
To make the text more readable I shall be unashamedly authoritative and avoid all the hedging and tentativeness with which it is customary to express new scientific concepts grown out of clinical experience and not as yet confirmed by clear-cut laboratory experiments. Thus, when I make what reads like a factual statement, the professional reader may have to translate into: clinical experience seems to suggest that such and such an observation might be tentatively explained by such and such a working hypothesis, requiring a vast amount of further research before the hypothesis can be considered a valid theory. If we can from the outset establish this as a mutually accepted convention, I hope to avoid being accused of speculative exuberance.
Simeons Protocol: The protocol is basically 125 iu daily injections of HCG combined with a 500 calorie a day diet. My diet consisted of:It is, for instance, well known that during pregnancy an obese woman can very easily lose weight. She can drastically reduce her diet without feeling hunger or discomfort and lose weight without in any way harming the child in her womb. It is also surprising to what extent a woman can suffer from pregnancy-vomiting without coming to any real harm.
Pregnancy is an obese woman's one great chance to reduce her excess weight. That she so rarely makes use of this opportunity is due to the erroneous notion, usually fostered by her elder relations, that she now has ?two mouths to feed? and must ?keep up her strength for the coming event. All modern obstetricians know that this is nonsense and that the more superfluous fat is lost the less difficult will be the confinement, though some still hesitate to prescribe a diet sufficiently low in Calories to bring about a drastic reduction.
Only when the fat which is in transit under the effect of HCG is actually consumed can more fat be withdrawn from the fixed deposits. In pregnancy it would be most undesirable if the fetus were offered ample food only when there is a high influx from the intestinal tract. Ideal nutritional conditions for the fetus can only be achieved when the mother's blood is continually saturated with food, regardless of whether she eats or not, as otherwise a period of starvation might hamper the steady growth of the embryo. It seems that HCG brings about this continual saturation of the blood, which is the reason why obese patients under treatment with HCG never feel hungry in spite of their drastically reduced food intake.
Meal 1 - Apple
Meal 2 - 100 grams of chicken in salad
Meal 3 - Apple
Meal 4 - 100 grams of chicken in broth with celery
My Review: I'm actually quite impressed. In 30 days, I have lost 31.5 pounds. My room-mate in 30 days, lost 40 pounds. Unfortunately, I did not take body-fat measurements before and after, so I can't speak to actual composition changes. However, a few things did strike me a significant. The first being that I did not lose and strength and actually got stronger on some lifts. I purposely took creatine to maintain strength, but despite the severe calorie restriction, my muscles did not suffer that much. The second significant thing that I noticed is lack of hunger. I get extremely irritated when hungry, which would usually only take a few hours of an empty stomach. While taking the HCG I did not suffer from severe hunger pangs. I did experience occasional and mild hunger pangs, but nothing compared to what would be expected. I did however really miss eating, which was great for me because it helped me separate the psychological and physical cravings much more clearly.
Overall, I would recommend it. I think the real dispute comes it whether or not the HCG has any effect as you should expect people to lose weight on a Very Low Calorie Diet.
Controversy: I don't think that most people would question whether or not it's effective. Based on the actual research done, the many logs accessible on the internet, and my personal experience with myself and my room-mate, I don't question it's effectiveness. The real question is whether or not the HCG has anything to do with it. I'm not going to be so naive to make statements of fact based on my assessment, but I will note observations that I find interesting. What I find more interesting though are the natural conclusions that can be drawn based on the rationale, no matter what side of the debate you're on.
Hunger: Common knowledge within this community would tell you that someone of my size eating only 500 calories a day should be starving. Even from personal experience, just missing a meal was enough to make me very irritated and hungry. Yet, I found it relatively easy to maintain this diet. More than anything I actually missed eating good food. I had no idea the extent of my enjoyment of eating. Both my room-mate and I were able to distinguish much more clearly between psychological cravings and actual hunger pangs. At one point we both increased on dosage and noticed a decreased appetite. I wouldn't rule out placebo effect by any means, but I think this was significant. Perhaps I've under-estimated my own will power, but I find the lack of hunger to a very compelling observation for HCG.
Metabolism Drop: Common knowledge in this community also states that my metabolism should have come to a complete stop eating 500 calories a day and weight loss should slow making it harder to lose weight. Whether you believe HCG had any effect or not, controversial conclusions can be drawn. Because either the HCG helped release fat stores, or despite the extreme calorie deficient my metabolism couldn't have come to a stop because I continued to lose weight.
Fatigue: On diet like this, most people would assume fatigue would severely set in. Both my room-mate and I suffered very little fatigue. I would say that by the end of my workouts I felt slightly more tired than usual, but nothing significant to note. My strength stayed high on this diet (with creatine) and my workouts did not suffer. I would say that my stamina was not the best, but it was equal to a keto diet which makes me think it had more to do with low glycogen levels.
Muscle vs Fat Loss: I can't provide any substantial evidence for this either way since I did not take body-fat measurements. I continued to weight train heavily while on this diet. With the addition of creatine, I lost no strength and actually improved on all of my lifts. I'm not sure conclusively how much muscle loss can occur with strength increases at the same-time, but I would assume it should be small. Even if I did lose substantial muscle, I'm not sure how upset I am because my strength increased the entire time. This can either be chalked up to HCG or perhaps we need to re-consider recommendations for people in the 20%+ body-fat range when it comes to losing weight. Perhaps an extreme calorie restricted diet is the quickest way to shed body-fat and combined with creatine, muscle mass (or at least strength) can be preserved.
Like I said, I'm not going to make any conclusions. I wanted to post this review because I think some interesting discussions could probably result from it. As I mentioned before, I'm not going to make broad generalizations about human physiology based on my limited experience on this diet, but I do believe a 31.5 pound loss in 30 days, while improving strength speaks for itself.
The real question is what will happen in the next 30-60 days regarding my overall changes.