HCG Diet Scam: Infertility Drug with Bogus Weight Loss Claims

Ever taken a pregnancy test? If so, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) might ring a bell. Naturally produced to support the placenta in pregnant women, HCG is the hormone pregnancy tests detect to give you that plus or minus sign. HCG is also used as a drug to treat infertility.

But what does all this have to do with weight loss? That’s the problem – not much. If you’ve followed diet trends over the years, you may have noticed the HCG diet crop up from time to time, and it’s made yet another comeback of late. The Internet is rife with ads for HCG products claiming to be a homeopathic method for rapid weight loss.

The idea behind homeopathy is that a very small amount of a substance can have the same effect in a healthy person as the regular dose does in someone who is ill. However, the FDA does not recognize HCG as a homeopathic drug, so these weight loss products are actually illegal.

HCG weight loss programs usually prescribe a 500-calorie diet in combination with the hormone to supposedly adjust your body’s normal fat composition, or “set point.” The set point theory is the idea that each person has a set body composition that your body’s metabolism works to maintain within a small range; some people have a higher set point and some lower. HCG claims to recalibrate your metabolism to a lower set point thereby encouraging weight loss.

Obviously, a 500-calorie diet will certainly lead to weight loss for most people, but HCG is an extraneous part of the weight loss formula. Studies have shown the hormone has no benefit for weight loss and such a restrictive diet may lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Diet pills, weight loss shakes, and fad diets — the allure of an easy and fast way to slim down is undeniable. But the effectiveness of these methods is often questionable, and in a case of HCG, also illegal. So unless you’re looking to lose weight in your wallet, don’t buy into the hype.

2 Comments

  • I tried HCG last Spring (2010) and lost 35 lbs and less than 8 weeks. My Osteoarthritis prevented any rigorous exercise. HCG was not covered by any insurance, and I stopped only because of the cost. I was told the HCG is “feeding” the body the 2500 calories it needs to not be starving. That is a key difference to the other “fads”. This is labeled a fad because for two reasons. It is a radical departure from what we consider “normal” fatty eating habits. And secondly, it cannot be dispensed (yet) under exclusive control of big drug companies in bed with the AMA, and FDA for the usual money grab, so they trash talk it. You should be legitimately concerned about the sources of anything you put in your body which of course is also your bloodstream, so you should be wary of blind suppliers such as these internet websites.

    The 500 calorie diet was because we need to be mechanically eating something due to our lifelong habits of doing so. I’m a man, so sensing not reason to stick around to feed a baby was even more evident, and the HCG doses were eliminated and drew from my fat stores as it exits. You are supposed to drink increased water to help with this elimination.

    The key to this working is of course the will power to not eat the fatty foods we are so addicted to. I could eat all the salad I want, (balsamic vinegar only as topping in small amounts) and can eat as much vegetables except for carrots and corn and starches like potato. Its true, the cravings stop, I did not feel hungry. But frankly, I still had to deal with the “compulsion” of eating – the sheer habit to snack for the initial taste on my palate. It’s a life long oral fixation that isn’t so easy to just cut off. The smell of the hot grease when passing a fast food restaurant or pizzeria was still there, and fixing standard meals for two small kids had major temptations, resulting in a few episodes of back sliding. They still wanted spaghetti and meatballs, and pastas and bread was out for me. So was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, any and all snack foods. If you don’t have kids, the junk food isn’t passing under your nose in the household. You can control what the little ones eat to help your own willpower, but teens are pretty much going to be gobbling what they want. You can ask that they, and a spouse, spare you from witnessing it. Don’t leave the chips on the counter or eat a big deli sub in front of me. The ban on dairy was maybe the hardest. No milk or cheese? No ice cream? It takes a lot to get over the feeling that you are being punished. You literally feel like a junkie trying not to reach for that snickers . I can never look down on other addicts, even smokers ( and my HCG person was a smoker!) Food is a drug. The incentive kicked in, and it really got easier when I first felt the pounds coming off, and lost 11 lbs the first week. Give it that first week, and decide for yourself. Telling a person not to eat whatever they want is like telling a fish not to swim all the time – it’s not an easy thing to get used to.

    The key protein to be eaten twice a day, at Lunch and Dinner was a palm of hand size portion of lean meat, chicken, or fish. Salmon is too fatty. Again, I really felt this was to relieve one’s natural tendency to feel we need to be chewing something of substance. It helped in a mental way to feel I was still eating somewhat conventionally. It’s the sumptuousness that you miss the most, and will be the cravings you have to address at any time that you are back to non HCG eating. The lesser weight has allowed me to become more active. To be able to be on my feet and walk briskly is a major positive ability. I am also diabetic so the lack of all the bread and pasta allowed me to see how much better my knees and joints felt – THAT is the most positive incentive of all! You can discover that perhaps you have food allergies. Apparently shellfish affects the stiffness of my joints – that was never considered before, and I love some shrimp, crab legs, lobster…. but large chowdowns at seafood festivals and clambakes it was crippling me. I still often wear the pants I used to squeeze into. I have to use a cinched up belt, and they drape down my legs like curtains, but it reminds me of where I was, at the brink of heart failure. I still have a long way to go, so restricting dairy, bread and pasta, totally banning fried food and I forgot to mention, the SUGAR! The sugar we consume is a major factor in our health crisis! The kid in me had to give up the candy,and it benefits my kids, though you would hear them say it, to not have Dad bring home the donuts and other treats. We got through Halloween and Easter just fine without the orgy of sugar.

  • The HCG diet has messed up the metabolism and health of several people I know. The HCG diet theory has never been scientifically proven, and eating only 500 calories a day is very dangerous. I read the so-called Simeons HCG protocol, and there is NO WAY this diet can be safe. The theory is medically unsound.

    Please read the links on this website, and you’ll never want to gamble your health on this scam

    http://www.tucsonmedical.com/pages/hcg.php

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