Trust me, hCG is for pregnancy, not weight loss

Just when I think I’ve heard of the worst possible diet for people, somebody comes up with (or resurrects) a worse one. And I do believe that a diet of 500 calories and injections of hCG may be the worst yet.

hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is the hormone that pregnancy tests measure and it’s not something to mess around with. It’s also the drug injected at the end of many fertility treatments in order to trigger ovulation. My arm is itchy and sore just thinking about it. (The very first time my husband gave me an hCG injection I developed a large and painful sore at the injection site. It was very traumatic for both of us.)

I’d never even heard of this diet (which was apparently popular in the 70s) until Brooke pointed me toward a Jezebel article about it. But it turns out if you try to google “hcg” you get approximately a bazillion links to how wonderful this diet is, with a few other sites mixed in.

Dr. David Katz of Yale describes the diet as “appalling” and that’s pretty much the best word I can think of to describe it. Folks, injecting a pregnancy hormone into your body in the hopes (but with no medical evidence) it might direct calories away from your hips is appalling. Oh, and insane. Yes, insane is a good word.

That’s not even getting into the insanity of a 500-calorie diet, which let me assure you isn’t going to give you sexy abs. ::shudders:: It’s more likely to put your body in starvation mode and cause you to hold onto every single calorie more desperately. Ugh.

Seriously, who thinks this is a good idea? To put it bluntly, this diet is a scam. It’s simultaneously worthless and dangerous, which seems to me a singularly sad and pointless combination.


About mamamara

I'm a 40-something, work-at-home mother of two. I'm pro-vaccine, pro-medicine, pro-science, and an avid reader of information about all of the above, and I want to combine my love for my children with my love for science. So here we are!
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3 Responses to Trust me, hCG is for pregnancy, not weight loss

  1. Mandy says:

    Looks like somebody has sour grapes! Haha this is even better than the hcg caused my gallbladder surgery story. I notice that you don’t say if you’ve read any of the literature about the diet? Of course you haven’t. A truly good blind rant has to be uneducated and poorly researched. You need to realize that the human body can hardly survive on 500 calories a day and that hcg triggers the release of adipose which in turn nourishes the extra 1500 calories or so. This is why people can survive quite well on the protocol. There are some who can’t simply because the dosage is not right or they are taking homeopathic fake hcg. That’s the scam. Homeopathic hcg and otherwise pre mixed drops that contain no hcg. After a couple of weeks these unfortunate people have to stop because simply put – they really are starving. With no actual hormone to release the adipose they are trying to survive the impossible. The real diet is used by medical professionals across the country IN CLINICS and Obgyn’s offices to treat a much deadlier problem. You can feel free to read Pounds and Inches by Dr. Simeons but something tells (maybe this rant of nonsense) me that you will not.

    • mamamara says:

      ::snort:: Sour grapes? For what? My weight and BMI are just fine, thankyewverymuch.

      I did do my research, as it happens. Among medical professionals I trust, I found unanimous agreement that HCG works no better than a placebo. Anybody taking 500 calories a day is going to lose weight! The question is, will they be able to maintain the weight loss when they’re through, and the HCG diet does nothing to teach better nutrition and eating habits, which are what are proven for maintaining weight loss.

      If you’d like links to all the research showing it’s a placebo, you can check out or But something tells me *you* won’t read them, because your mind is made up already. ::shrug::

      If I saw any good-quality research that said this worked better than a placebo, I’d be happy for people. Until then, I’ll remain skeptical.

  2. jenna says:

    I was on hcg for 41 days I lost around 38 lbs after I stopped taking it I continued taking vitamin b12 shots and continued the 500 calories for another 15 days still loosing a lb s day..I eventually went off it felt great went back to a 2000 calorie diet and ate healthy..2 weeks later i started having major abdominal pain and completely lost my appetite and could not keep anything down..I went and had a hidascan done and was told my gallbladder was only contracting at a 9 prcnt..I was asked if I had done any fasting or crash diets lately..alltho not a crash diet and I have lost about 55 lbs all together. I was scared to get my gallbladder removed cuz I kinda need it u know…so I did a gallbladder cleaner and felt good for 2 weeks. I did not have any stones either..anyways I have become super sick again and I am getting my gallbladder removed tommorow. All in all I lost the same amount (lb a day) without hcg and a 500 calorie diet….and due to such low calorie intake…can’t say if its hcg fault alltho pregnancy hormone levels do play a huge part in gallbladder issues..I have also managed to loose something important…if I could go back I would have not done this.

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