“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” — Mahatma Gandhi
HCG Diet Analysis, Part III
Wherein we prod, poke, examine, analyze, diagnose and then finally lay to rest the theory that HCG is the active factor in Dr. Simeons’ HCG Diet. This will not be pleasant reading for some, so to them and to everyone else who reads this part, I ask only that they try to remember this eternal truth: A thing may not be both true and false simultaneously.
After Dr. Simeons outlines the various symptoms of obesity, he finally arrives at his own theory and outlines its foundation in “The Treatment of Obesity,” in which he states:
“I remembered a rather curious observation made many years ago in India. At that time we knew very little about the function of the diencephalon, and my interest centered round the pituitary gland. Fröhlich had described cases of extreme obesity and sexual underdevelopment in youths suffering from a new growth of the anterior pituitary lobe, producing what then became known as Fröhlich’s disease.”
Here’s what science has taught us since then. First, Fröhlich’s is not a disease, but a syndrome. Second, this Syndrome comes in two varieties: a tumor on the pituitary gland, or a tumor on the hypothalamus. Symptoms for each are slightly different; the tumor on the hypothalamus produces hyperphagia, or raging hunger. Given what we now know about leptin, this is not surprising. The genetic equivalent of Fröhlich’s is Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), which “typically causes low muscle tone, short stature if not treated with growth hormone, incomplete sexual development, and a chronic feeling of hunger that, coupled with a metabolism that utilizes drastically fewer calories than normal, can lead to excessive eating and life-threatening obesity.”
In other words, despite taking in fewer calories than one ‘burns,’ through exercise for example, or by eating less and creating a ‘deficit,’ fat is still created despite this deficit of nutrients and is stored rather than burned. So much for Calories In, Calories Out (CICO).
The official PWS website states: “The hyperphagia (extreme drive to consume food) lasts throughout the lifetime.” This is unsurprising, since suggested treatment for PWS includes a deadly low-calorie, low-fat, high carbohydrate diet, guaranteed to keep PWS sufferers obese, yet literally starving throughout their lifetime.
Back to Simeons, who goes on to state:
“It was very soon discovered that the identical syndrome, though running a less
fulminating course, was quite common in patients whose pituitary gland was perfectly normal. These are the so-called “fat boys” with long, slender hands, breasts any flat-chested maiden would be proud to posses, large hips, buttocks and thighs with striation, knock-knees and underdeveloped genitals, often with undescended
testicles. It also became known that in these cases the sex organs could he developed by giving the patients injections of a substance extracted from the urine of pregnant women, it having been shown that when this substance was injected into sexually immature rats it made them precociously mature. The amount of substance which produced this effect in one rat was called one International Unit, and the purified extract was accordingly called “Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin” whereby chorionic signifies that it is produced in the placenta and gonadotropin that its action is sex gland directed.”
So, boys with Fröhlich’s Syndrome of the hypothalamus are first and primarily suffering from sex gland and sex hormone signal disorders. These disorders produce feminine-like appearances, such as rounded hips. Patients are given HCG, whose primary action is sex gland/s directed. Et voila — some improvement results. Moving on, Simeons describes the treatment with HCG injections that produces this improvement, then notes:
“Thirdly … when such patients were given small daily doses they seemed to lose their ravenous appetite though they neither gained nor lost weight. Strangely enough however, their shape did change. Though they were not restricted in diet, there was a distinct decrease in the circumference of their hips.”
Nomad. Nomad. No-mad. Err-or, Err-or, Errr-or. The Changeling, Star Trek, TOS
Let’s parse. Simeons treated “fat boys” in India diagnosed with Fröhlich’s Syndrome (a sexual gland/hormone disorder), with a sex hormone. Despite appetite decrease (to be expected since the HCG restored some signaling to the hypothalamus), despite eating fewer calories, no fat was “liberated,” no weight was lost. No inches were lost either. Instead, the fat abnormally deposited around the male hips that was sex hormone directed, was simply moved to a more gender appropriate part of the body elsewhere. How do we know this? Because if the HCG had ‘liberated’ fat instead of merely transferring it elsewhere, that fat would instead have burned and weight would have been lost.
Thus it must be clear that this outcome (moving fat from a gender inappropriate to a gender appropriate area) is in fact sex hormone specific, and is not related to the abnormal accumulation or loss of adipose fat in any way. Nor does Simeons ever state this directly. But here he does make a great illogical leap and commits his second and third logical fallacy. He says:
“Remembering this, it occurred to me that the change in shape could only be explained by a movement of fat away from abnormal deposits on the hips, and if that were so there was just a chance that while such fat was in transition it might be available to the body as fuel.”
If. Chance. Might. Those are a lot of qualifiers in a single sentence. If you’re going to base an entire treatment for not only reducing obesity, but eliminating it (and the cause of it) on “if, chance and might,” you need to be able to conclusively show that your theory has eliminated all possibility of ‘chance’. As we’re about to see, Simeons never does.
Simeons correctly observes that when a sex hormone disorder is treated with a sex hormone, fat abnormally deposited on the wrong part of the body moves to the gender appropriate part of the body. The fat doesn’t go away, it only moves. We know this because Simeons tells us that the boys, despite eating less, do not lose weight. And that the fat moves because the sex hormone restores (to some extent) sex gland signaling, the breakdown of which deposited it in the wrong place to begin with. His errors here are two.
First is Simeons’ unwarranted and incorrect assumption that abnormal adipose fat accumulation, like gender inappropriate accumulation, is also the result of a sex hormonal disorder that breaks sex gland signaling, and can thus be treated by a sex hormone. The second, most crucial error of assumption is that adipose fat, by such treatment, will then be in transition to another part of the body and therefore available to the body as fuel.
Translation: Since abnormal adipose fat accumulation is not the result of a sex gland or sex hormone disorder, and since it does not move from one gender inappropriate part of the body to a gender appropriate part of the body, adipose fat can neither be treated by a sex hormone nor can a non-existent transition ever make the fat available as fuel. Therefore we must conclude that application of HCG to treat non-gender inappropriate obesity can not meet the conditions that science calls both “necessary and sufficient” to declare one thing the cause of something else.
For example, to prevent AIDS, you would need to know precisely how the virus replicates itself (the ‘necessary’), as well as the knowledge of precisely how to stop that replication (the ‘sufficient,’ since no other knowledge or application would then be necessary). In the case of AIDS, science now has the necessary knowledge, but not the sufficient, to say they have discovered the cause of what will prevent it. Therefore many different treatment methods must be used against the virus after it has infected the body.
But for the prevention of Polio, science eventually satisfied both sides of the equation after much trial and error. We now have a vaccine (the necessary) that when administered, is the sole thing (the sufficient; no other variables are required) to prevent the disease. Nothing else for prevention is required, and thus we can state as a scientific fact that the Polio vaccine is the one and only cause of Polio prevention.
We also now know the cause of Yellow Fever: A human must be bitten by a mosquito that carries the virus (the necessary). The bite transmits the virus to the human (the sufficient). Since the equation is now satisfied, science may state that only one thing (a bite from a yellow fever-carrying mosquito) causes the other thing: Yellow Fever. Mosquitoes that carry the Yellow Fever virus cause Yellow Fever in humans by biting them.
So in order to successfully claim that HCG causes the “liberation” of fat from adipose fat cells, Simeons would have had to prove the necessary: first, that adipose fat is able to and does ‘transition’ from one part of the body to another part of the body; second, that it is the HCG itself (and nothing else) that causes this transition. In the intervening six decades since Simeons’ made those assumptions, science has in fact shown the opposite. Adipose fat is not a sex hormone disorder, but rather a metabolic disorder, which even Simeons himself states clearly in the opening of his book. Therefore adipose fat does not transition from one gender inappropriate area to a gender appropriate area upon being successfully treated. Instead, when abnormally accumulated adipose fat is correctly treated, the fat does not move, but is instead liberated and burned as fuel. Thus we can say with certainty that not only did Simeons fail to prove the necessary, proving it is in fact impossible.
And so Simeons’ leap does not compute. HCG certainly restored some sex hormone signaling in boys with Fröhlich’s syndrome of the hypothalamus, but it did nothing whatsoever to affect their fat loss. But Simeons jumps from Fröhlich’s to metabolic disorder obesity despite the Indian boys’ zero weight or fat loss, and despite the fact that his underlying assumption: that HCG transitions adipose fat and then “liberates” that fat as it moves — is false. But after declaring the false to be true, he goes on to say:
“This was easy to find out, as in that case, fat on the move would be able to replace food. It should then he possible to keep a “fat boy” on a severely restricted diet without a feeling of hunger, in spite of a rapid loss of weight. When I tried this in typical cases of Fröhlich’s syndrome, I found that as long as such patients were given small daily doses of HCG they could comfortably go about their usual occupations on a diet of only 500 Calories daily and lose an average of about one pound per day.”
With no clinical trials that, say, eliminated HCG, but which was low-calorie with varying nutrients (such as high fat, low-fat, high protein, low protein, high carbohydrate, low carbohydrate), Simeons still piles onto his false assumption the loss of weight that comes with every low-calorie diet. He confuses cause with effect. In this case, the true cause of the weight loss — which did not come earlier, with HCG but without an extremely low-calorie diet — is something else entirely, but the effect matched Simeons’ observation: that fat is lost quickly, without hunger, because fat IS liberated and it DOES feed the body.
But even if we imagine that Simeons could have somehow proved the necessaries above, he would still have to have proved the sufficient — that as adipose fat ‘transitions’ from one part of the body to another as a result of being supplied with the sex hormone HCG, only HCG then causes those fat cells to open, release their fat and thereby make it “available to the body as fuel.” Since the first condition of necessary is not, and can can never be met, the second condition of sufficiency can also never be met, and thus causation can never be proved. Simeons’ underlying assumptions were false, and thus any conclusions he drew from those assumptions must also be false. So says Aristotle and Mathematics.
This is why 99% of all the controlled, random double-blind studies (where even the doctors don’t know which patients are receiving the drug, and which are receiving a saline placebo) demonstrated the same thing: HCG is not the active factor in either the weight loss or the lack of hunger. Now we know why HCG could never be the factor: it is neither necessary nor sufficient. If Simeons’ observation that obese people treated with HCG lose fat rapidly and without hunger is true (and it is), then the cause for the fat loss and lack of hunger must be brought about by a different means that is both necessary and sufficient. Another way of looking at this is through a logic trail, in which you must get a ‘yes’ every step along the way to go on, and must have a final yes to logically prove the hypothesis.
Hypothesis: HCG liberates fat first by setting it in transition, then by making it available to be burned for fuel as it moves. The Indian boys were fat? Yes. The Indian boys had a sex gland and hormone signaling disorder that deposited fat inappropriately on their hips? Yes. The Indian boys were given the sex hormone HCG? Yes. The Indian boys had their hip fat move — transition — to a gender appropriate place as the sex hormone HCG re-established hypothalamus signaling? Yes. The boys therefore lost fat or weight as the fat, in transition, became liberated from the cells and was used for fuel? No.
Let’s try it another way. Hypothesis: If you consume fewer calories than you did when you were getting fat (CICO) you will lose weight. The boys were fat? Yes. They had raging appetites and ate a lot? Yes. The boys were given HCG, which “liberates fat” in transition, making it available to be burned for fuel? Yes. The boys consumed fewer calories than they did when they were gaining weight? Yes. The boys therefore lost weight or fat? No.
Let us gently lay HCG to rest once and for all by using Simeons’ own words and observation. In the section Vegetarians, Simeons says:
“To supply them with sufficient protein of animal origin they must drink 500 cc.
of skimmed milk per day, though part of this ration can be taken as curds. As far as fruit, vegetables and starch are concerned, their diet is the same as that of non-vegetarians; they cannot be allowed their usual intake of vegetable proteins from leguminous plants such as beans or from wheat or nuts, nor can they have their customary rice. In spite of these severe restrictions, their average loss is about half that of non-vegetarians, presumably owing to the sugar content of the milk.“
How is this possible? After all, HCG ‘transitions’ fat, then liberates the fat as it moves, yes? Yes. HCG and not a caloric deficit causes this transition? Yes. Thus HCG and not the calorie deficit liberates the fat? Yes. The vegetarians were given HCG? Yes. They were also restricted to 500 calories a day as non-vegetarians? Yes. They lost as much fat and weight, and as rapidly, as non-vegetarians? No.
Simeons even gives the reason for this supposed anomaly. A bad batch of HCG? No. Too many calories (relative to non-vegetarian caloric consumption)? No. It was the sugar content of the milk. In other words, the only difference between the vegetarian and non-vegetarian fat/weight loss was the carbohydrate level in their diets. And what process does a higher carbohydrate level interrupt by raising more insulin? Lipolysis.
As Parts I and II have clearly demonstrated, when fat is indeed liberated via lipolysis — which occurs in the absence of insulin — you must lose (burn) stored excess adipose fat. You must lose weight. If lipolysis goes on longer, you lose more excess weight/fat. If lipolysis is short, you lose less weight/fat, but you still lose. Only if there is no lipolysis at all do you not lose any excess weight or fat and you may in fact add more of both. Clearly, for the “fat boys” of India, no lipolysis took place despite the HCG.
Before moving on to discuss what is the active factor that causes rapid fat loss without hunger even on a severely calorie reduced diet that would otherwise cause hunger and “starvation mode” from kicking in, let me quote Simeons once more: “HCG is never found in the human body except during pregnancy.”
This is true, and yet without HCG, either due to pregnancy or injected, rapid fat loss in men and non-pregnant women — without hunger — is common in many who understand lipolysis and which foods promote it, and which foods prevent it. Could that be the secret of low-calorie fat loss with no hunger? The very particular composition of foods eaten? Foods that either prevent lipolysis (fat storage) or promote lipolysis (fat burn), thus opening the fat cells, liberating the fat and “feeding the body” so that despite caloric deprivation you feel full? Yes, indeed. That is precisely what happens. Lipolysis is the active factor, not HCG. But important questions remain. Can we prove lipolysis is necessary? Can we prove lipolysis is sufficient? And if so, what will guarantee that lipolysis takes place?
On to Part IV, in which the 800-pound gorilla says Hello.