To start off, hCG, stands for Human chorionic gonadotropin. It is a pregnancy hormone approved from the U.S Food and Drug Administration to treat infertility in both men and women.
This diet craze started in the 1950s, when Dr. A. Simeons introduced the use of hCG injections combined with a strict 500-calorie-a-day, high-protein diet to treat infertility. It should be noted that people with excess weight may be less fertile than healthy weight individuals. For these overweight or obese individuals simply losing weight will increase their fertility and increase their chances of pregnancy.
By the 1970s, Simeons’ method had become popular among those seeking weight loss, with advocates claiming that this approach indeed induced rapid weight loss with minimal hunger.
The key point here is that: while the program seemed to work, this approach to dieting fell out of favor after clinical trials noted that weight loss occurred because of the strict diet, not because of the hCG injections. A 1995 meta-analysis concluded that “…there is no scientific evidence that hCG is effective in the treatment of obesity…”
Another meta-analysis concluded that there is no evidence that hCG causes weight loss, distribution of fat, staving off of hunger or induced a feeling of well-being. Their recommendation was that HCG should not be regarded as an appropriate therapy for weight reduction.
More recent news in Dec 2011 that Federal Agencies removed hCG over-the-counter weight loss products (YES!)
Now to note about the prescribed diet. hCG dieters are urged to choose organic meats, vegetables, and fish. On the other hand, dairy, carbs, alcohol, and sugar are all off limits. This basically constitutes a high protein and fiber while low carbohydrate diet.
A day’s meals might consist of
Breakfast: coffee and an orange
Lunch: a little tilapia (fish) and raw asparagus
Snack: a piece of fruit
Dinner: crab, spinach, a slice of toast and tea for dinner.
There’s no question that 500 calories a day paves the road to malnutrition—dieters should never dip below 1,200! Moreover, extremely low-calorie diets can cause severe bone and muscle loss, electrolyte imbalances, gallstones, and even death. Any diet that cannot be maintained in the long run is not a well rounded diet. In the end successful weight loss is one that is maintained in the long run by incorporating healthy behaviors into their everyday life.
hCG injections are known to cause headaches, blood clots, leg cramps, temporary hair thinning, constipation, and breast tenderness with many side effects still unknown. Also, some doctors are selling hCG injections with a weight loss plan at +500$ with a 23 day plan or 40 day regimen. Multiple cycles can be completed with breaks in between cycles.
To wrap this up, I will reference a report published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal which stated hCG has “no value” as a means of managing obesity, and that the diet has been “thoroughly discredited and thus rejected by the majority of the medical community.