hCG Injections for Weight Loss: Do They Really Work?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
What if I told you that we've discovered the secret to weight loss—something so amazing, easy, and effective that it can help you drop several pounds a day, lose that stubborn belly fat for good, and finally "fix" your metabolism so that you'll never suffer from weight problems again? Sounds great, right?

All you have to do is never eat any brand name foods from big food companies, eliminate all artificial sweeteners, white sugar and flour (and a handful of other things), switch to a 100% organic diet, eat big salads at lunch and dinner, consume no more than 500 calories a day and inject yourself with a special "solution" each day while you do it. Your reaction to that should be "no thanks, I'll pass," but many others think it sounds like the weight-loss breakthrough they've been waiting for.

It's called the hCG diet. If you haven't heard of it, it's not your fault. Proponents of this diet claim that it's so effective that the government has worked hard to cover it up for years because it would solve obesity and health problems that would put pharmaceutical companies out of business.

That may seem plausible. I love a good conspiracy theory myself. But the deeper you dig, the more red flags you'll find about the hCG diet and its infamous injections.

I do my best to stay on top of current weight-loss trends, but I hadn't heard about this until Coach Jen and SparkPeople Dietitian Becky Hand, a licensed and registered dietitian with 20 years of experience, alerted me about it. They've received lots of questions about these hCG injections and the hCG diet. So with Becky's help and some research on my part (which wasn't easy because most websites you'll find when you search for hCG information are completely one-sided and trying to sell hCG to you), here's what you need to know.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone produced during pregnancy. It is made by cells in the placenta and helps to maintain progesterone production throughout pregnancy, among other functions. One of the possible roles of hCG during pregnancy is breaking down stored abdominal fat so that it can be used as an energy source for the growing fetus, a process that slightly increases the mother’s metabolism. Because of this, some people have hypothesized that hCG could be used as a weight-loss aid.

In the 1950s, A British endocrinologist named Dr. Albert T. Simeons created a weight-loss plan that involved injecting people with the hCG hormone based on his theory that it will help break down fat stores, increase metabolism and promote weight loss and satiety on an extremely low-calorie diet. He even opened some hCG weight-loss clinics during the mid-century.

In more recent history (2007), Kevin Trudeau, a controversial businessman with no medical or nutrition credentials, wrote a book called The Weight Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You to Know About that outlines a restrictive hCG diet and recommends the use of hCG injections for weight loss. This has led to a consumer resurgence and interest in hCG. However, it should be noted that Trudeau has made a living selling "natural cures" in books and infomercials and has lost several lawsuits brought on by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and has also been convicted of both fraud and larceny. In November 2007, just seven months after his Weight Loss Cure book was published, a court found Trudeau in contempt for making deceptive claims in his book and ultimately fined him $37 million. Some people view Trudeau as a crusader or hero for sharing these cover-ups with the public when no one else would. Others (myself included) view his background and run-ins with the FTC as big red flags. How can you trust someone with a history like this and no medical or nutrition education or experience? Updated 3/24/14: Trudeau was jailed November 12, 2013 when he was convicted by a federal jury of criminal contempt for lying in several infomercials about the contents of his hit book, “The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About,” which promoted hCG. In March 2014 he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. More at ChicigoTribune.com.

Trudeau and other proponents of the hCG diet and hCG injections for weight loss continue to make a lot of big claims, but these are just claims—not facts. NONE of these claims is backed by reputable resources or any science.

According to SparkPeople's head dietitian Becky Hand, "Numerous double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical studies conducted between the 1970s and 1990s (see a list of selected sources below) have shown that hCG injections provide NO weight-loss advantage. In study after study, researchers compared two groups: a control group who followed the diet only and another group who followed the same diet AND received hCG injections. Time after time, the weight loss between the two groups was identical, demonstrating that hCG injections offer no weight-loss advantage over dieting alone." Or in layman's terms, "hCG injections have nothing to do with the weight loss. SAVE YOUR MONEY!" cautions Becky.

After all, if you're completely changing your diet and eating a third of the calories you should be eating to stay healthy, it's hard to know what's really causing weight loss: the diet, the injection or both. These studies show that the diet is responsible—that hCG injections aren't really doing anything to promote weight loss. On top of that, says Becky, who reviewed the published research on hCG says, "researchers observed NO statistically significant differences in body composition, waist-to-hip ratio, hunger level, spot reduction, or mood among the groups." This counters the very claims made by hCG promoters—that hCG burns belly fat and makes you able to withstand the extreme hunger you're likely to experience if you only eat 500 calories a day. Reputable research says otherwise.

Even if hCG injections do work, how do you know that what a supplement company is selling you is the real thing? Part of the risk of taking supplements—whether we're talking vitamins, herbal concoctions or hormones like hCG—is that supplements are not regulated. No one is overseeing these companies to ensure that what they say is in a bottle is really in there. No one is making sure that the pill or liquid or whatever it may be is free of contaminants or provides a safe or healthy dosage. Prescription drugs on the other hand are regulated for safety, ingredients and potency. But you'd be hard pressed to find a doctor who will administer hCG injections for you because the FDA has never approved hCG injections for weight-loss treatment in the U.S. In fact, since 1975, the FDA has required labeling and advertising of hCG to state:

"HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or 'normal' distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets."

Beyond that, the diet alone is restrictive and dangerously low in calories. The reason SparkPeople (and other nutrition recommendations) have calorie floors (women should never eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day, for example) is because it is not possible to meet your body's needs for protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals when eating so little food. Certainly an extremely low-calorie diet will result in weight loss—for a while. But it'll likely slow your metabolism down and make you feel lethargic and pretty darn hungry.

One of the things I always tell people when they ask me about the latest diet pill or program is this: If it REALLY worked, everyone would know about it. Seriously—everyone really would. You'd constantly hear about it on the news, in magazines and newspapers, in statements from reputable organizations, from doctors—from everyone. Why? Because everyone really DOES want a safe and reliable cure for obesity. If that existed in the form of a pill or injection or special food combination, you better believe that no one would be able to truly "suppress" that information. Pharmaceutical companies have been searching for this very cure for years, as have university and medical researchers who aren't affiliated with pharmaceutical companies. If weight loss came in a pill, trust me—you'd know about it and you'd probably be taking it. "The use of hCG injections for weight loss remains a popular treatment," says Becky, "but it is just another dieting scam."

The next thing I want you to ask yourself is, "Who profits from telling you this?" If "who profits" is a bunch of supplement companies or weight-loss clinics or a controversial book author, well there you go. Medical organizations, health organizations, the government, nutrition professionals, even SparkPeople—none of us either "win" or "lose" by telling you that something is a scam. The people who have the "agenda" are the ones who are trying to profit off of consumers with high hopes for this secret cure.

Selected Sources:
Bosch B, Venter I, Stewart RI, Bertram SR. Feb. 1990. Human chorionic gonadotrophin and weight loss. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. South African Medical Journal. 77(4):185-9.

Greenway FL, Bray GA. Dec. 1977. Human chorionic gonadotropin in the treatment of obesity: A critical assessment of the simeons method. The Western Journal of Medicine. 127(6):461-3.

Miller R, Schneiderman LJ. Mar. 1977. A clinical study of the use of human chorionic gonadotrophin in weight reduction. Journal of Family Practice. 4(3):445-8.

Shetty KR, Kalkhoff RK. Feb. 1977. Human chorionic gonadotropin treatment of obesity. Archives of Internal Medicine. 137(2):151-5.

Stein MR, Julis RE, Peck CC, Hinshaw W, Sawicki JE, Deller JJ. Sept. 1976. Ineffectiveness of human chorionic gonadotropin in weight reduction: A double-blind study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 29(9):940-948.

Young RL, Fuchs RJ, Woltjen MJ. Nov. 1976. Chorionic gonadotropin in weight control: A double-blind crossover study. Journal of the American Medical Association. 236(22):2495-7.

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I lost 85 lbs! I can't believe it! Want to know the secret?

Diet and exercise. And patience. You didn't put the weight on in a day; you shouldn't take it off in a day. I was up to 240 lbs right after high school, and today, I am 155 lbs.

I am literally horrified at humanity. Every single person who claims that this diet is wonderful and that hCG really works, immediately follows it up with, "I ate 500 calories a day", or "I ate 1200 calories a day or below". It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that you lost weight because you restricted your calories. What's scarier is that this hormone doesn't provide all of the nutrients your body needs to function, which would come from eating healthy food.

I believe it is reasonable to assume that anyone who does this is nothing but impatient and vain. You've "tried everything", right? Try harder. You are not trying hard enough. It took me more than a month of consistent diet and exercise to see results.

If you're overly stressed out, it could be adversely affecting your progress. Perhaps there is a root cause, as well - late-night snacking, inadequate sleep, not measuring portion size. I've found that I will not lose any weight whatsoever if I eyeball portions. Write down what you eat, and be truthful.

Or figure out what medical condition you have that prevents you from losing weight, and treat THAT. Being unable to lose weight (really, truly unable) is a symptom of a greater problem. Injecting yourself with a hormone won't solve what could be a serious issue.

I also explored many avenues of weight loss, and came to realize that eating well and exercising regularly are plenty effective. They are supported by everyone because they are tried and true, and good for you. You just have to be smart about it. See a nutritionist; obtain a personal trainer.

"Don't knock it til you try it". Really?? Oh wait, I haven't tried anabolic steroids yet, but I can't knock them til I try them! They'll pump me up and make me gorgeous and muscular, but at what cost? PEOPLE - YOU ARE INJECTING YOURSELVES WITH A H O R M O N E. A hormone! Why are you not taking this seriously?!

Oh, well. All I can say is that, unfortunately, those who try this hCG diet will eventually learn (the hard way) that there is no miracle for sustainable weight loss. I just had to learn to be more in tune with my body, be less lazy, and be accountable. After that, it was so easy. Report
I just watched Dr. Oz today who felt that the HCG diet had some very definite value and could be used successfully with certain patients. The only thing he recommended was to go to a doctor for the product. He also had experts on the program giving very positive reviews on hcg. This debate reminds me of the controversy over the Atkins diet. After years of studying the final conclusion was...guess what? The Atkins diet did not harm and was actually good for you. Also it was the best and quickest way to lose weight. Hmmmm Perhaps there should be more tolerance over something new instead of bashing it as if we're all experts. Report
I have not started the hCG diet yet, but probably will next week. I have gone through an actuall doctor that did blood work etc. I agree with the people on here that have said "don't knock it until you try it". You don't have a leg to stand on if you haven't walked in those shoes. Look at other conventional ways of loosing weight such as Jenny Craig, you go through different phases and over a period of time you are taught to make better food choices and to look at and begin various exercises. If after completing the program you decide not to make good choices or work out thent he weight will come back, that is just life. With hCG I beleive it is for people who want a quicker solution (such as myself), however it is still a lifestyle change that must be continued. Think of hCG as a crutch to get you on the right track. If someone was to quick smoking there are various options out there to help (pills, patches, etc). Do you scorn those people for needing help and motivation? Do you think that once they have finished the patch or pills they could go to smoking only when they wanted? Probably not. So it is the same, you must change your life style and the hCG program is just a guide and crutch to get you healthy. Report
The comments on here with people trying to defend this "diet" are giving me a headache. It just goes to show that people will take "truthiness" over facts any day. Coach Nicole cited multiple published studies for you, and has written a long sound article on why this "diet" is a scam, and you still want to go with your snake oil. Look, you will lose weight eating 500cal a day, and thinking the hcG will control your hunger is having a placebo effect (this is why you think it's controlling your hunger), but in a year when all the weight is back and then some because your metabolism is destroyed, don't come crying back to the rest of us Report
Hello All, i am glad to see this post. i want to share my experice with anyone who is thinking about doing this diet. When i was doin my research I only wanted to hear from people who actually did the protocal. others opinion's really dont count. its just there opinion. i have been on this for 2 weeks now, yesterday making it a full 2 wks. I am down 6lbs. I cheated when i went to a family cookout that i waited all year to go on and gained weight. i am guessing that because my body was flooded with calories from the drops and i added more calories than it needed so the weight came on. I went back to eating right - it took 2 days but i finally got rid of the extra lbs i added. i dont know about anyone else but my hubby and i are doing it together ( much easier than doing it alone) and neither of us could imagine being on 500 calories without #1 passing out #2 craving unhealthy foods.#3 sticking with it. but all of the above has been proven to be true.

you might think that it doesnt work but i'm proof that it does. i work 5 days a week and parttime on weekends, i am able to do this with out being weak and drained. I only have about 15-20 lbs i want to loose. I work-out whenever my schedule permits but it is never as often as i would like for very long. i might sneak in 3 weeks straight but will find life would come in and rearrange my schedule. I cant believe that i am only hungry @ meal times. I bring my food with my to work, which means that i'm saving money on impulse purchases. i love this plan. it works for me and if you allow it it can work for you too. Hubby is not able to bring food from home to work so he's only loosing about a lb a day instead of the normal 2 lbs that men usually use. but on weekends when he's home he does loose 2lbs per day. i make sure that his meals are protocol when i can.

good luck to all who venture to try. This hormone cant be worst then the unknown ones in your govement regulated food, or the Phen-fen that was also govement regulated. well judge for yourself!! Ta-ta.
I have done my research and have taken the injections. You do not just take the injections, lose the weight and then your done. It is a 4 phase process. The 4th phase is how you will eat for the rest of your life with portion control. The 2 and 3 phase is you training yourself for phase 4.

Yes you have to eat 500 calories for 6 weeks and then you are taken off because your body gets immune to the HCG. For the ones that need to lose extra will go off the HCG for six weeks, go into phase 3 for six weeks and then back into phase 2 for six weeks and then back to phase 3 and so on. That goes on until you lose the weight that you need to lose. I can't say if it's a miracle shot, but there is no way I could get through the 500 calories a day without it. Other than that, if you follow the diet, you will lose the weight.

You're not on the 500 calories or taking the injections for the rest of your life. Your putting your body through a type of training through 4 phases that will help you live the rest of your life through portion control.

Been there, done that, still doing it and still losing weight!!! Report
I agree with Ron no 181. Both my wife and I did it on the reccomendation and supervision of our Doctor. Started with the 23 day program and was doing so well we continued to the 43 day program. I lost 40.7 lbs of pure body fat, .001 of muscle mass. My BMI is 23.8 so this diet is the real deal. We did the injections ourselves and saw the Doctor weekly for weigh in and body analysis.

Went from a 36-38 relaxed fit pants to 32 slim. 17 1/2 neck shirts to 16. I'm 61, now weigh 163. I was 175 when we got married 37 years ago..Doctor said we'd get back to near high school weight. Wife lost 35 lbs and she looks awesome! Fits in clothes she never thought she would. Off of it a couple of months now and fluctuate 1 - 2 lbs. Wife is going to do it again in the fall for another 25 lbs.

Had more energy than I can remember, started and completed some major remodeling projects during the process.

We both feel great, cholestoral is now 150, LDL is at 50, blood sugar problems are gone...actually gained about 20 years in youthfulness, and the Doctor can't be happier for us. He calls us a text book success.

Like anything, to be successful you have to work at it. You have to make the committment, do it correctly, stick to it and don't get crazy when you stop the program.

I think it is best under Doctor supervison, you can trust the HCG compound, and there is a real comfort level being monitored. Our Doctor is a forward thinking anti-aging specialist. I will also say, it is easier if a couple does it together, but either way I would reccommend it for anyone who is serious about wanting to change their lifestyle and feeling GREAT as a result ! Report
Well this is really disgusting. A diet that encourages your body to go into starvation mode and not only burn abdominal fat but muscle too. You all realize that when your body goes into starvation mode it goes after muscle first right? Consequently, that destroys your metabolism. Who even knows what the effects are of injecting a pregnancy hormone into your body when you are not pregnant. But I forgot, using hormones for birth control is bad, but for weight loss, that's okay. But as long as you are okay with destroying the insides of your body for a good outside, that's what matters. Report
Put me down as one more satisfied HCG dieter. Now, for some of the objections. Yes, you would lose weight on a 500 calorie/day diet, regardless of whether you took HCG or not. The difference is in the following:

1) Most people, including myself, feel no hunger, and often find it difficult to even eat the 500 calories required. Try that on any other calorie restricted diet.

2) I lost weight (1 pound each day) even on the first three pig-out days where you "force feed" yourself all the junk you can eat.

3) Energy. I've been on sub-1000 calorie diets before and always felt low on energy. With the HCG diet, because you're body is actually consuming its own fat as energy, I have, in fact, had far more energy than I usually feel.

4) But, finally, the key for me is where the weight is lost. I have been on a lot of diets and could never get rid of certain fat areas. These are areas of "abnormal fat", per Dr. Simeon. This HCG diet open those areas as a food source for energy while you're calorie restricted, and gets rid of those difficult fat areas.

As to user PDT1PDT1 concern that HCG will turn out to be another fen-phen, please keep in mind that this has been used for over 50 years. So, highly doubtful we're suddenly going to find out any deleterious effects from HCG.

To the folks who say something to the effect, "I knew a guy who lost a lot of weight on the HCG diet and then put it all back on". This is true with any diet or program (even working out and eating right). Once you stop doing what worked for you, you can mess yourself up again. You wouldn't say, "I knew a guy who worked out and ate right and lost lots of weight, but then put it back on after stopping the program." But, some feel perfectly justified in saying the same ridiculous thing about the HCG diet. Remember, the 500 calorie phase is only PART of the program. After the set number of days, you gradually bring your calories up by eating more and more healthy foods. This whole program is designed to re-establish your metabolic set point so that it's more difficult to gain weight when you do cheat. But, it's assumed that those cheat times will be occasional. No program can insulate you if you're an idiot who thinks, "Great! My metabolic set point is reset. Now, I can eat anything I want, anytime I want, and my body will just burn it up." These people don't understand the program. So, don't judge the program based on what your friends do, based on a poor read of the program.

2 months ago i started taking the HCG shots which i ordered online from teh official hcg diet plan website and it did not help me any however a friend of mine tried it and it worked.
Since then however 2 weeks ago my doctor advised i needed to try the shots and that the homepathic mixture sold on the internet is not always the real thing. So i started the shots Friday 7-1-11 and since i have lost 6lbs and that includes me cheating one day by having a chicken chipotle bowl for lunch. Plus i do 10 minutes on a elliptical as well at this time cant do more do to shortness of breath but the shots and the diet plan seem to be working for me. So i am like Ksmitty221 dont knock it till you try it.
Just rejoined SparkPeople today, after being on the Alli team when it was first introduced about 4 years ago. I lost 30 pounds from a combination of things - Alli, cutting out meat, yoga, and to be frank, hours of community service. I was able to keep most of it off until now, but the holiday pounds from last winter have not fallen off. My mostly vegetarian diet has plateaued.

I came across an article in Marie Claire that impressed me by its authenticity. I could relate to the writer's feelings of stress, the pressure for women over 40 in LA to look a certain way, the lack of energy. Her account convinced me because she wasn't pushing the diet, wasn't selling it, flat out said she'd never done fad diets before ... and concluded that the two rounds of injections for a total cost of $1250 were well worth it. ( http://www.marieclaire.com/health-f

I didn't have that kind of money, so I read everything I could about cheaper alternatives. And from what I've read from SP threads and other blogs, it works well enough initially -- and that's good enough for me. I know what I need to do to maintain the loss. I don't need double blind studies. I just need laser focus. I need to remember that food is just fuel - the cleaner the better. I need to remember realistic portion sizes, and 3 oz of cooked protein twice a day doesn't seem unreasonable to me. I need to remember the appeal of fresh or lightly cooked veggies, instead of spending hours on elaborate food prep and storage. I have already eliminated processed foods, corn-derived fillers, sweeteners, sodas, white flour/sugars, farmed fish and factory-raised animals.

Food can be the focus of many joyful social occasions, but should not the addiction it is fast becoming in my life. Getting back to the basics is the point of the HCG protocol, not the initial 500-calorie/day diet that is being roundly condemned here. Whether the HCG is a placebo, or whether the drops are bogus, if the experience forces me to re-adjust my relationship to food, and gives me the energy to resume yoga and enjoy time with my children, what is the harm? I'm out 3 weeks of my life and $75 - a small price to pay for the potential upside.

I bought my kit from Celeste (and would love to hear back from someone else about the potency of her products). I'm just finishing the load phase today. After stuffing myself with ice cream and fatty foods for the past two days, I look forward to the VLCD. The idea of a clean slate with just fresh veggies and fruits and lean proteins is very appealing. I'll update when I've finished with the kit or lose 15 pounds, whichever comes first. Report
anyone who has started the HCG diet do you have any suggestions on how to make chicken and fish other then broiling it or grilling know there isnt alot of seasoning you can use but I didnt get any receipes with this diet can you help? Report
I would not advise anyone to do any version of the the HCG diet under any circumstance. There is absolutely no real medical science behind it,like the article says, it is very dangerous, and everyone I know that did it was not at all happy with the results. It pains me to see people I know getting involved with this scam. They torture their bodies with 500 calorie a day starvation for weeks, then when they're finished, all the weight comes back again. It makes me want to sit down and cry just thinking about what some friends went through on this unhealthy, unproven diet, and it was all for nothing. Thank God the FDA has finally decided to get involved and take the over-the-counter HCG products off the market. Hopefully, their next step will be to close down the fraudulent "HCG weight loss" clinics" and fine the so-called doctors that run them, or better yet, haul them off the jail for the crimes they've committed against their patients by putting them on that stuff and telling them it's safe to eat 500 calories a day. Report
I have tried it a couple of times. It does work, and even improved my mood and my hunger issues while I was injecting it. BUT, approximately 6 to 7 months later it does creep back. I don't mind doing it once a year or so as it helps to keep my weight down and healthier outcome from being less heavy. I'll choose this over diabetes or worse. My doctor that I use to use to get my injections has since retired out of the country. Does anyone have a doc or an online resource that I can contact to start it again. It's been about 7 months and I would like to lose my last 30 lbs. The only one that worked for me was from APP. Green and white box- 10,000 usp. Thanks!
I have tried it a couple of times. It does work, and even improved my mood and my hunger issues while I was injecting it. BUT, approximately 6 to 7 months later it does creep back. I don't mind doing it once a year or so as it helps to keep my weight down and healthier outcome from being less heavy. I'll choose this over diabetes or worse. My doctor that I use to use to get my injections has since retired out of the country. Does anyone have a doc or an online resource that I can contact to start it again. It's been about 7 months and I would like to lose my last 30 lbs. The only one that worked for me was from APP. Green and white box- 10,000 usp. Thanks!
It's funny how people are so quick to say that they wouldn't inject themselves with a hormone, yet they may be quick to take medicine for a headache, or illness. Or, how about epidurals during pregnancy that could possibly paralyze you? That sounds a bit more scary to me. Report
Had 4 friends do this diet together. Their results were amazing! AND NOW, 1 YEAR LATER...they have ALL gained the weight back plus some! Don't fool yourselves. Taking in that many calories destroys muscle and ruins metabolism. Yeah, results are incredible initially, but when you stop, you've made it even more impossible for your body to keep the weight off. Enjoy injecting yourself for life! OR, you could suck it up and do it the right way!!!! Report
I tried the HcG diet last month. I figured that I would be able to follow it, no problem. I began my injections, no problem there. Followed the plan...for a few days. I have never been so sick! I was miserable...I followed the plan for two weeks, felt as though I could eat my own arm off and not to mention the awful cramps that I began to experience. After the first week, I began to have cramps, I have not had cramps since I was in my teens, but these had me doubled over...could not take it anymore and quit. I did lose 11lbs that first week but after experiencing those pains my second week was my last. I am just sticking with SparkPeople and Curves from now on. Report
i agree with buggabear!! you should try it before you judge it... im starting this diet today and im excited after all the good stuff i have heard!!! Report
I have been using HCG since February 10th..I have lost 25 pounds BUT I have not been following the 500 calorie diet! I eat approximately 1200 calories a day (plenty of lean protein, fish, healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts) and I have still lost the weight. Not saying it will work for everyone, but I still lost and didn't follow suggested plan exactly. Report
I have been reading alot about this diet, watching news programs about it, even saw something on the show "Doctors". I have several family members and friends who did HCG with great success and I haven't heard any "horror" stories. Besides being "another trendy diet" that doesn't sustain long-term weight loss, what are the other bad side affects? If this method has been used for years, how come you don't see much on the side affects. I get that people say it's a scam or just a placebo, but how is it dangerous to your heath? Thanks for any comments. Report
It's so funny that people that have NEVER tried something OR even known anyone who has tried something can speak about HCG as if they've experienced anything about it! I mean, we all know cocaine addicts and figure it's bad because we've seen what it's done to their lives. However, HCG works. I'm not obese but was, after the birth of each of my children. I breast fed them all and ate well. I decided their health was more important than my desire to get skinny. With each child the weight got harder to lose. I've dieted and lost weight on my own, running, training, and strict dietary restriction has gotten me the body I wanted twice. BUT, it wasn't working after baby number three. I worked with a trainer, a nutritionist, and my doc. No one knew why I wasn't losing. Then I bought HCG. Despite my doubt and my knowledge that I've tried a very low calorie diet before and felt deprived and hungry, I went forward and just did it! AND, it's worked! I've monitored my body fat the entire diet, blood pressure, and overall mood. The first two weeks were tough, I was empty but not ravenous. My first round (less than 40 days), I lost 22 pounds. I've maintained it for almost 3 months and I'm still losing! Say what you will but there are much more dangerous things out there than a 21 or 40 day VLCD!!! Bariatric surgery is a nightmare, obesity is extremely dangerous, and yes, I'd imagine HCG can be dangerous in the wrong hands with someone who isn't well educated or conscious of their body's messages.

Losing weight isn't always as simple as calorie restriction and more activity!!! Anyone who thinks that has never had a serious weight problem or a thyroid issue that the doctor didn't spot because the numbers didn't indicate it was a problem. My doc swore it was my thyroid and, yet, my numbers said NO. I swear it was too. I was doing everything right. I eat organic, drink raw milk, juice my food. It wasn't until I learned the sugar and carb connection that I got it right! HCG is a godsend for many! AND, not for others. There's no one size fits all involved with our bodies. There's NOTHING that will work for everyone except for oxygen and gravity. Other than that, it's pretty safe to say that it works for some and not for others!!! You can continue to doubt its effects. Science says A LOT of things and they're wrong about many, like the diarrhea and fever connection with little babies. They say it just has no reasonable explanation and, yet, many parents experience feverish babies who cry all night while teething. There may not be a TON of science behind HCG but a great deal of empirical evidence supports. Dr. Oz just did a show about it and some of you may like to check it out...I'm not trying to convince anyone to try HCG. I don't care what any of you do as long as you find what works FOR YOU and helps you maintain optimal health. Report
I am starting this on Monday and yes, I am going to sit on my ass and do this. I'm not going to put stress on my body by pounding the ground with all of this weight for an injury that'll have me on my ass anyway. I've been there done that. Before anyone knocks it, remember, different strokes for different folks. If it isn't for you, cool. But don't trash it because you're not into it. People are into a vegetarian diet, it doesn't mean it isn't the only way to be healthy. If I had to choose between losing 42lbs and keeping it off in 6-12 months versus 42 days, I choose losing it in 42 days and keeping it off. I would invite anyone to check my page and view my progress for the next month and a half. I'll even do a video blog. Report
Outstanding! Finally a diet that I can sit on my rump, not exercise, starve myself, and take injections and lose weight! Love those easy fixes...

Can you feel my sarcasm???

I have exercised, learned portion control, and proper nutrition and have lost 42 lbs.. Guess I should have gone the easy way, huh? Report
I just read a comment about how hCG does this and that to help you lose weight, but what I don't understand is, if it is supposed to help burn the fat, then why do you have to do the 500 calorie a day diet. Why not consume the healthy amount of calories and get the shot. That doesn't sound like a shot that "Really Works" to me, it sounds like snake oil. Report
This blog cites results from FIVE double-blind studies, which all definitively state that hCG produces NO weight loss (aside from the 500 calorie diet), and STILL people buy into this 'scam diet'. AMAZING.

I guess it is really true what PT Barnum was quoted as saying "There's a sucker born every minute."

NO THANKS! I'll stick with what works - a holistic approach of proper nutrition, reasonable exercise, 8-12 cups of water, and 7-8 hours of sleep per night. That has sustained me through 10 months and 67 pounds of weight loss. There is NO way I could have done the hGC starvation diet! Report
The HCG diet is a scam, and a very unsafe scam at that! I know people that thought it was the most wonderful thing ever until the food restrictions messed up their health, or all the weight came back as soon at they stopped starving themselves with it..

I wish someone had destroyed that stupid Simeons protocol before it ever saw the light of day so people would not have put their faith in such a dangerous theory. And yes, I did read it. Everyone I know that is in the medical field says the so-called science behind it is completely bogus.
the post is very interesting, thanks for sharing information about the available HCG injection for weight loss... Report
I really don't understand the logic of those who support the HCG diet when they take issue with statements like, "If you only eat 500 calories, of course you'll lose weight."

The implied logic, then, is that it's not just eating 500 calories that makes you lose weight, it's eating 500 calories AND taking the hormone.

How does anyone really believe this? If you are literally STARVING yourself, can you show that an injection or a drop actually starves you faster?

The answer, which you already know if you've read the above Spark article, is that you can't. Studies have shown that the weight loss is identical whether you take the hormone or not. There is no proof out there that gives even a glimmer of hope that taking the hormone actually makes you lose weight faster than just starving yourself.

So why spend the money on something that no one has ever proven does anything? The answer from the faithful is, of course, "It works!"

Right. Report
CEMERT, didn't you read the article the Spark People Coach wrote about the dangers of this diet????? Or read the references at the end of the article from scientific studies? You should not be ordering HCG from ANYONE! The HCG diet is a total scam, and a dangerous one at that! I know people who have seriously harmed their health by trying to use the HCG diet to lose weight. It's totally NOT worth the risk. Report
I have talked to several people who have love the diet; however, my sister is the only one who had a reputable source to get the injection HCG. I googled HCG and now I am so confused as to who I should order from. Any help would be much appreciated. I would prefer the once a day shot versus the three times a day drops but would settle for either. Thank you! Report
MADIELLE3, The person you are calling "ignorant" is a Spark coach! She really does know what she is talking about. It does not make sense to risk your health on a 60 year old theory that has never been proven to work. That is why Spark People forced all the HCG teams to go private. I'm sure all the Spark coaches are aware of Dr. Simeon's protocol and the theory it puts forth. They really ARE able to read. If you want to starve yourself on 500 calories a day because you have chosen to put your faith in his "theory," just realize that you are using your body for a very risky experiment, and Spark People will not be responsible for the results if you damage your health in doing so. Besides, everyone I know personally that lost weight on the 500 calorie "HCG protocol" gained it all back once they stopped taking the stuff. Report
There are many hormones in the foods you eat now. They are in the pesticides as well as hazardous toxins. They inject the animals with hormones so therefore, you are already getting hormones. And that is probably why the obesity problem is at such a high number because these hormones are foreign to our bodies and each one of us may respond different to it. Also, for a man to take hcg seems a bit far fetched because it's a female hormone. Report
Every diet plan you read about will have testimonials about how "it worked when nothing else did" While I see homeopathic HCG as a useful tool to losing weight (I wouldn't use the injections or "real HCG Drops" because I don't want to mess with putting hormones into my system), I am SO tired of people idolizing every word that Dr. Simeons wrote 60 years ago as if is was the 10 Commandments and "going off protocol" is a terrible sin. I ate a LOT of off protocol food and closer to 1,000 calories than the 500 he recommended and still lost weight. Like everything else, I think it's best to do things in moderation and not risk your health by trying to cut your food intake down to the bare survival minimum in order to lose weight in the quickest way possible. Report
I think these comments are so funny. I tried and tried to lose, was working out often, very frustrated with my lack of success. It was my doctor that recommended I look into it at a clinic. I have done a few rounds of HCG and have had wonderful success. It is what worked best FOR ME. It may not be for YOU. I am off my blood pressure meds, I am down to a healthy weight, I haven't gained any back, I am finally happy with myself again. I stick with my decision. Again, if it isn't for YOU, don't do it. Report
I tried to discourage a close friend from doing this diet, but unfortunately, he did anyway. He lost a lot of weight fast, but I am still concerned about how taking a pregnancy hormone and losing weight that fast will affect his long-term health. When he started eating normal food again after doing HCG, he had allergies to 2 food groups that he was able to eat without problems before. And he is also having a lot of muscle aches that keep him from being able to work out very much. Already, I see that his weight is creeping back on, and I pray that he doesn't try to do another round.

But having said that, I have used the homeopathic version of HCG along with a VERY modified version of the protocol (in other words - I just tried to eat cleaner and more low-carb than usual without worrying about the calorie count) and did lose most of the body fat and weight I wanted to get rid of. But I would never consider doing injections of HCG or even using the "real HCG" drops, because that's putting a hormone into your system that doesn't belong there unless you are pregnant. The homeopathic version just has the energy signature of HCG in the water/alcohol mix, so that isn't likely to harm anyone. But I would never recommend that anyone try to follow the 500 calorie protocol diet, because even if it "works as advertised" for some individuals in releasing enough fat for you to survive on 500 calories of "input food", in my opinion, it is WAY too close to pushing people into starvation mode, where they could do some real damage to their health. So if you have decided to use HCG as a weight loss tool, please remember that the "official protocol" is not the 10 Commandments, and many people I know have lost a significant amount of weight using the homeopathic version and eating more food than the diet recommends.
That diet sounds like hell. I guess you could say I am on the "hCG diet" right now because I am 8 weeks pregnant and suffering from morning sickness which makes me unable to eat very much (even the medicine just takes the edge off which helps me survive). The nausea comes from the ever-increasing amounts of hCG coming from my baby's growing placenta.If you want self-induced nausea, you go for it. As for me, I'm staying away from junk food and eating sensibly- you know, the old fashioned way. Report
hi, in may of 2009 i started the hcg diet. i lost 30 lbs.. it is now september 2010, i have still kept that weight off and i have lost an additional 20 lbs.. yes through out i have lost a bit more and gained back and lost a bit more and gained back.. BUT when i followed the hcg diet to the T on that first round, that weight has not come back. and im back on it again now (2nd day VLCD) lost 3lbs of body fat so far in 1 day. and if i stick to the diet, and dont cheat and follow, i know i will be able to keep the next 30lbs that i loose off for over a year and more.
so it works! dont judge untill u get the REAL fact.
I was also skeptical when I first heard about the HcG diet but the more I researched the more sense it made to me. I wasn't just interested in weight loss but in fixing my metabolism and maintaining my weight loss long term.

I was most impressed by the people who were able to go off their thyroid medication after a couple of rounds on hcg. These were folks that had no prior hope of losing let alone maintaining a normal weight without medication.

One of Dr. Simeon's premises was the harmful effects that traditional diet foods / processed foods seemed to be having on the endocrine system and diet sweeteners, preservative and msg in particular. These have now been proven detrimental. They make you crave food and they cause you to gain weight.

I had to try it for myself. I have been on every diet known to man and had gotten bigger every single year. This is the first time that I have been able to lose weight steadily and effortlessly and I feel fantastic. I eat fresh produce and lean meats and lots of water and cabbage and tomatos and fresh herbs and spices and tea and lemon and I feel totally satisfied and happy and have 10x the energy as before. I don't even crave junk food when I am allowed to eat it on other phases of the diet ( load days / phase 4). Even more impressive, I was able to maintain my weight perfectly within 2 lbs on my last stabilization phase (phase 3). The few times that I have slipped (nobody's perfect!), I find my body actually resists gaining weight. This diet has been an absolute Godsend and I am SO happy that I found it. I have lost nearly 50lbs and have 60 more to go. I know I will reach my goal and maintain my healthy weight for good now. Once more, I have fallen in love with crispy fresh produce and cooking with herbs and spices and with yummy healthy veggies, lean meats, eggs and fat free cottage cheese with fruit. I eat mini meals throughout the day and never feel hungry or weak. I also supplement with a great multi vitamin and several other important supplements that are recommended ( calcium, potassium, magnesium and B) I feel great!!! : ) Report
For a plan that is supposedly ineffective, I'm sure getting exceptional results. The hCG really is the key to the diet. Without it, I am sure I would be hungry or fatigued, but I am neither. I am satisfied with the 500 calories a day, and I am energetic. My personal average loss has been about half a pound a day or 20.8# in six weeks. Others have been losing substantially more. The next best performing diet I have been on was Medifast. I lost 13.6# in one six-week round and 9.6# in another six-week round on that one. My six-weeks results for NutriSystem were 7.6#. The sources for hCG are, agreeably, problematic. Most of what is sold is homeopathic, which would fall in the supplements category. Some of those work, some of those don't. I have been using pharmaceutical hCG. Report
Yeah, I have seen people drop a lot of weight on this diet, too. On 500 calories a day a person can't help but lose weight. This level of intake is well below starvation level and one can't possibly get the proper levels of nutrients doing this. Other posts have stated that people "keep off the weight". I'd like to know what constitutes "keeping it off". (which is the important factor in my mind) Does it mean 2 weeks, 2 months, or two years? Anyone can lose weight. This is not the difficult part of the equation. I have personally witnessed people who have used this diet regain their weight plus more. I firmly believe that there are no shortcuts to this. Exercise, sound nutrition, and lifestyle changes are the healthy way to approach weight loss. Alas, many will still get taken in by these snake-oil salesmen who have little interest in them other than lining their pockets. Beware! Beware! As far as not knocking it until I've tried it, there are many things I would not try because they are harmful...an extreme example would be that cigarettes, meth, and heroin can help a person lose weight too! Don't be taken in by the quick fix. Report
I started to try this, wanting instant gratification like everyone. But the more I thought about it, I realized it could not be safe. When a "diet" won't even allow you to eat vegetables and things you know are healthy that you should be eating, you know it can't be good for you. Report
This is the first time I've heard about this diet. I need to research more before I commit. Report
Correction. After reading the actual Simeons manuscript and not the excerpt from Trudeau's book, the pausing of injections during menstruation is protocol. Report
Seems like not eating much would help you lose weight (whether or not the hCG works), but is that a lifestyle change that someone can live with forever? Besides, I have a hard time trusting something that people advertise with signs stuck by the roadside.

If it works for people, that's great, as long as it's under supervision of a qualified health care provider. Report
Well I am currently in Round 1 Phase 2 of the HCG diet and I am using Mediral Homeopathic Sublingual drops. I am on day 7 of the Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) and have lost 9 pounds. I can't begin to say how happy I am about that!!! I think there's a lot of skepticism about this protocal because people don't understand the scientific aspects of it and how something could work so well from so few incoming calories. I suggest everyone interested/curious about the HCG Protocol read Dr Simeon's "Pounds and Inches" you can find it on the web for free. And check out a few HCG forums and blogs where you'll find many successful people on the diet such as myself. If the skepticism subsides, then try the diet for yourself. What do you have to lose besides pounds and inches?!! Report
2 women at my office did this diet. They did 3-5 "rounds" each. They ate almost nothing for a couple weeks, then they started eating more without the shots... But every time they started the shots again, they were supposed to "load up" on fat so they would eat like 3 cheeseburgers in a day. This doesn't seem healthy at all. One of them seems like she's kept the weight off, the other gained it back I think.

They said the biggest benefit of the shots was taking away the hunger, but I think you just get used to it after a few days. Many of you have probably tried a fast or juice diet, I have, and after a few days you don't get hunger pangs anymore. I think the hormone is not adding anything except cost.

Also just because they prescribe this hormone for fertility problems doesn't mean it's safe to use for weight loss. I considered trying it because my coworkers did drop a lot of weight, but I couldn't find any information on how it might affect my future fertility/pregnancies. I wouldn't risk it. Report
It's not to the FDA's benefit to regulate this...It's a no brainer...tons(maybe....just maybe I'm exagerrating) of ordinary people have lost weight and some even significant weight.

The FDA does not benifit from this only from what they approve and does apparently not show same results.

Yet, they approve drugs like antidepressants that have taken lives and those are approved...I wonder why.

...I got my son off of those and he is doing fine....my gut feeling was that If I kept him on those, I would not have him with me. (Trust me I saw all the changes he went thru)

Just maybe the FDA needs to show more integrity. Report
Thank You Skincy, I was glad to read your comments about HCG. I will be starting my protocol with a Physician.I admit I was a little afraid but after reading your comments I fill better and can't wait to start my diet.Thank YOU. Report