HCG Diet

HCG stands for Human Choriogonadotropin, the hormone produced by pregnant women in the early stages of pregnancy. Research suggests a small, daily hcg injection (approx. 125 IU to 200 IU) results in a weight loss of 1 to 2 lbs per day, and often more, when accompanied by a VLCD (very low calorie diet) of approximately 500 calories.

So who wouldn’t lose weight eating just 500 calories? Why would you need to pay for expensive HCG injections when the calorie limitation will cause you to lose just as much weight in itself?

The HCG proponents (sock puppets) share their wisdom. The tiny HCG amount supposedly enables you to draw from your fat stores, and the HCG makes you not being hungry.

How funny then that the Kimkins starvation diet produced the same results, without the HCG. Kimmer suggested 500 calories or less. Lean protein, just as the HCG protocol does. People following Kimkins did lose a huge amount of weight, quickly. But they also suffered health complications due to it.

There is no reason to think that HCG would work any different, in my opinion. The dieters starting out on Kimkins didn’t feel hunger initially either. Ketosis does that to you.

Here is a study that shows no difference in weight loss or hunger with or without the HCG:

Our investigation was designed to retest the hypothesis of the efficacy of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) on weight reduction in obese women in a clinic setting. We sought to duplicate the Asher-Harper study (1973) which had found that the combination of 500 cal diet and HCG had a statistically significant benefit over the diet and placebo combination as evidenced by greater weight loss and decrease in hunger. Fifty-one women between the ages of 18 and 60 participated in our 32-day prospective, randomized, double-blind comparison of HCG versus placebo. Each patient was given the same diet (the one prescribed in the Asher-Harper study), was weighed daily Monday through Saturday and was counseled by one of the investigators who administered the injections. Laboratory studies were performed at the time of initial physical examinations and at the end of the study. Twenty of 25 in the HCG and 21 of 26 patients in the placebo groups completed 28 injections. There was no statistically significant difference in the means of the two groups in number of injections received, weight loss, percent of weight loss, hip and waist circumference, weight loss per injections, or in hunger ratings. HCG does not appear to enhance the effectiveness of a rigidly imposed regimen for weight reduction.

[Am J Clin Nutr. 1976 Sep;29(9):940-8. Ineffectiveness of human chorionic gonadotropin in weight reduction: a double-blind study. Stein MR, Julis RE, Peck CC, Hinshaw W, Sawicki JE, Deller JJ Jr.]

Getting calories from body fat doesn’t mean that you get ALL nutrition your body needs. The body fat doesn’t contain vitamins or essential fatty acids. And don’t fool yourself that a vitamin pill will provide what should be gotten from food.

Coincidentally, many Kimkins dieters complained about “excessive” hunger around week 4 – 5. The HCG protocol is following the 500 calorie diet for 3 weeks, when food is added.

But how many of the HCG dieters stop at 3 weeks? Perhaps they, just as the Kimkins dieters, decide to fight the hunger by filling up on non-calorie food such as broth and diet soda? After all, they all want to get to goal as quickly as possible.

And how many of the HCG dieters regain the weight like most of the Kimkins dieters did? A 500 calorie diet teaches you nothing about how to eat to maintain weight loss.

HCG is just another quick fix, in my opinion. A magic pill for a desperate dieter that wants to find an easy way to get the weight off. And of course, HCG is a big money maker for the companies selling it. They most likely use sockpuppets to help promote the product. As with other fad products, support threads on diet boards are populated by people new to the board, that post on that thread only, that have “fantastic success” with the product, and encourage other board members to buy it.

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[…] wrote about the HCG diet a while ago. My conclusion at that time was that the hCG itself has no effect on weight loss. […]

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