Pros and Cons to the 500 Calorie Diet

The 500 calorie diet was gaining some traction a few years ago when Dr. Oz discussed the HCG protocol.  It quickly went down-hill when he came out a short time later and recanted what he said about it being something that people should consider because he was concerned about people trying it without a doctor’s supervision, and of course that would be bad, right?  The 500 calorie diet is most times related to the HCG protocol by Dr. ATW Simeons (1954).  His diet consists of all whole foods from the protein, fruits, and vegetable categories.  Every day you should eat 2 fruits, 2 veggies, and 2 servings of protein in the amounts he suggested and from the finalized lists he came up with after 10 years of study and clinical work with his own patients. 

Most Americans are Already on a 500 Calorie Diet (or Less):

500 Calorie Diet100% of your daily calories are not coming from whole un-processed, clean food and calories you can use.  On average, the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) has 61% of the calories coming from processed, unnatural toxic food (  Let’s do the math: let’s say 1200 calories is a good intake for weight loss.  If a person were eating 95% of those calories from processed foods (shakes and bar included), they would be consuming a whopping…wait for it… 468 calories from good nutritious food!!  So if a person went on the 500 calorie diet, they would increase their nutritious food intake.  Bottom line, most people today are not getting 500 calories of clean whole food on a daily basis, so this diet would be an upgrade. 

Risks of a 500 Calorie Diet

Of course people are going to talk about the risks of doing such a low calorie diet.  In an article “The dangers of a 500 calorie diet,” Jessica Bruso from Demand Media writes:

“Possible side effects of very-low-calorie diets include nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, intolerance to cold, menstrual irregularities and hair loss. If the meal-replacement products used in very-low-calorie diets do not contain sufficient amounts of dietary fiber, these diets can make constipation more likely. Rapid weight loss can also cause gallstones in people who are susceptible to them.

More serious potential consequences include heart arrhythmia, stroke and brain hemorrhage. Pregnant women who follow these diets are more likely to have children with birth defects. If you consume too much liquid and not enough protein, you could also develop hyponatremia, or low blood sodium, which can cause dizziness, fatigue, confusion, coma and death. These diets can also cause nutrient deficiencies if not carefully planned.”

WOW! That is scary, it sounds like the end of a pharmaceutical commercial!  You might want to make sure you don’t drive heavy equipment when on a low calorie diet, either. 

500 calorie diet

Let’s take a realistic look at the worst “side-effect” of a 500 calorie diet.  Because honestly, how many people have literally died from doing a low calorie diet?  Who were they? What were they subjected to? 

After doing quite a bit of research, I found several studies that discussed 17 deaths attributed to low calorie diets.  All of them were related to extremely obese people who were subjected to 300-400 calorie diets for 5 months or longer under a doctor’s supervision.  Do you think that these obese people probably had other health issues as well?  On the other hand, there were 783,936 annual deaths from conventional medicine mistakes and approximately 106,000 of those are the result of prescription drug use [1]. Null, G PHD. (2011). Death by Medicine. Mount Jackson, VA: Praktikos Books.  So realistically I think it’s fair to say that the believers and advocates of the HCG/Simeons Protocol or 500 calorie diet, are not putting people in grave danger – is there another kind?. And PS, I do not know of any woman voluntarily going on a 500 calorie diet during pregnancy. Moving on.

Nausea, fatigue, diarrhea.  When doing a low calorie diet the first week is very tough.  There is always detox. These symptoms do not last long or they come and go as the person loses weight. The worst detox of all is because of processed sugar.  This detox is comparable to a drug addict’s withdrawal symptoms, so you can add to that list dizziness, the sweats, and irritability.

Last but not least, intolerance to cold, menstrual irregularities and hair loss.  All of these are temporary.  When you slow the calorie intake, the “furnace” is not burning very hot, so yes you get colder quicker.  When you cut out fats, or dramatically change your diet, hair loss and menstrual irregularities are a possibility, but again, it is temporary.  I’m not downplaying the fact that there are side effects to a very low calorie diet, but I am saying to be realistic about it and know that these are temporary, just like the diet that Dr. Simeons put people on.

Now let’s look at the other side effects not mentioned:  lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, healthier weight, better self-esteem, higher confidence level, more aware of healthier eating.  These are all things that come with losing weight.  So I believe that if people wanted to try this type of diet, it is only for a short time frame, they should.   The following is a testimony from Gary H, a client of mine.  I left all his typos in just like he sent to me on a private message in FB.  With his permission, I am using it.  His testimony is one of many, many others who have done the HCG Protocol /500 calorie diet.

Hi, got my blood work back last week and thanks to breakthrough my numbers are the best I have had in years. all thanks to the team at Breakthrough !  good and bad cholesterol was all in range, tri’s were 102 . which a few years ago were 230. had fatty liver tissue for few years so liver enyzemes were always elevated. not now , they are within range and dr. says all due to weight loss.   in May with additional weight loss he says can go off BP meds.  THANK YOU ALL !!!! also MERRY CHRISTMAS.   gary