The HCG Diet Fraud

No! Not again! Stop the madness!

I live in Marin County, the land of the fit, thin, and affluent, so the ads for the recently revived but long ago unproven HCG diet abound. ďLOSE 40 POUNDS AND YOUR BELLY FAT IN 6 WEEKS WITHOUT HUNGER, AND KEEP IT OFF!Ē As an MD who ran an integrative medicine center before switching to a coaching practice, I just have one thing to say. Bullshit.

Hear me out.

What Is The HCG Diet?

Itís based on the work of Dr. Albert Simeons from the 1950ís, who touted HCG as the miracle weight loss drug, claiming that this hormone, procured from the urine of pregnant women, would help fat melt away, reduce your appetite, and make you magically lose weight in all the right places. He also claimed that this hormone would change your metabolic rate, making you unlikely to gain weight once you stopped the diet.

Keep in mind that HCG is a hormone most commonly used in fertility treatments and to aid adolescents with endocrine problems during puberty. It is not — and never had been — a weight loss drug.

Dr. Simeon did a study to ďproveĒ his claims, but no other researchers were ever able to reproduce his work. After the HCG diet was discredited by the scientific community, the diet mostly disappeared until 2007, when infomercial king Kevin Trudeau began promoting it as the secret diet your doctor isnít telling you about. And suddenly, products appeared all over the internet and doctors at integrative and alternative medicine centers started jumping on the bandwagon, causing the diet to experience an unfortunate resurgence. Variations of the diet exist, but most require daily HCG injections, drops, or sublingual dosing, and costs can run you up to $1500/month (padding the pockets of many a doc). The pregnancy hormone is combined with a highly restricted, low calorie diet of 500 calories/day.

The pregnancy hormone tricks the body into believing that youíre pregnant, and because youíre starving the body, it starts eating away at fat — and you get no hunger pangs! Sounds good, right?

What Can You Eat?

Dr. Simeons diet allowed starvers to eat no breakfast other than coffee or tea, but for lunch or dinner, they can eat the following:

  • Unlimited coffee or tea with saccharin or stevia but only 1 Tbsp milk per day
  • 100 grams of lean meat, protein or seafood
  • Only one type of veggie from the following list: spinach, chard, chicory, beet-greens, green salad, tomatoes, celery, fennel, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage
  • One breadstick or melba toast
  • An apple, orange, a handful of strawberries or one-half grapefruit

Variations on the diet abound, but you get the gist.

Is It Healthy?

First off, letís start with talking about health. The FDA recommends that inactive women eat a 1500 calorie/day diet to ensure adequate nutrition. Your brain alone needs 600 calories/day to function normally. The body needs protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in order to perform important metabolic functions. Even hospitalized people unable to eat are given nutrients through the IV. You simply canít be healthy unless you get adequate nutrition.

So at a caloric intake which is 1/3 the low end of the recommended caloric allotment, the body suffers. Most anorexics consume around 500 calories per day. So sure, people on this diet lose weight.

Does It Really Work?

Long story short, the answer is no. It doesnít work. Starving your body is not the answer. Research shows that HCG doesnít cause weight loss. Itís not safe. Itís unsustainable. And who can stick to a 500 calorie/day diet? So you wind up feeling like crap because youíve paid all this money and find yourself cheating. Which sends you to the freezer for a pint of Ben Ďní Jerryís and a self-hate fest.

Numerous studies have shown that people do not lose weight beyond what they would lose with such severe calorie restricting (also known as ďstarvingĒ). And they lose weight where people usually lose weight, not in some special ideal distribution of belly, thighs, and butt. Sure, thereís a placebo effect, but almost all drugs have a placebo effect. If you think youíll lose weight and are paying a boatload of money for it, youíre simply more likely to lose weight. But it doesnít mean it actually works, as a CNN article recently confirmed. WebMD agrees.

The Whole Thing Is A Freakin’ Fraud

Because of the research, Dr. Simeons diet was discredited, and in 1976, the FTC ordered his clinics to stop claiming that their HCG diet was safe, effective, and FDA-approved for weight loss. Since 1975, the FDA has required that HCG be labeled with the following:

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.

But how many people paying all this money read the fine print on their injected medication?

These products are also all over the internet, and people are using this diet with no medical supervision whatsoever, which totally freaks me out. And yet, people are in such pain from their desire to be thin that they will do anything for a quick weight loss fix. It breaks my heart.

How The HCG Diet Differs From Cheating

Iím currently in the midst of a green juice cleanse, so you might ask how this kind of starvation diet differs from the popular detox cleanses. And itís a good question. Some cleanses lack any nutrients and can be downright dangerous to your health and wellbeing and may be used repetitively as a form of eating disorder. But the one Iím doing is a nutritional cleanse consisting of fresh green juices, avocados, sprout salad, seaweed broth, herbal tea, stevia lemonade, and vegan soups. You eat healthy calories, although your caloric intake is admittedly limited. But because of the nature of what you do eat, the body starts to unload its toxic burden. And because cleansing the way I do is very self-love based, the weight you lose tends to stay off because you feel so great that youíre motivated to continue your program of radical self care. For more on cleansing, read my friend Kris Carrís book Crazy Sexy Diet or read her blog at and sign up for our newsletter if you want to be notified about the cleanse program we will be launching soon at

Does Detoxing Really Work?

Why Quick Fixes Never Work

So why is everybody jumping on the HCG bandwagon? Because everybody wants a quick fix. The diet promises 40 pounds of weight loss in six weeks. People will do anything to feel more beautiful, more valuable, more desired, more socially acceptable.

But losing weight from a place of hatred is never sustainable.

If youíre starving yourself to fit in because you hate your belly fat, forget it. Not only does the research prove that it wonít work in the long term; you can guarantee you wonít feel better about yourself even if you do lose weight. Read here for tips on how to lose weight with love.

Do Yourself A Favor & Steer Clear

Donít be tempted, my friends. The HCG diet is unsafe, it doesnít work, and itís little more than beautifully packaged snake oil. So do your body and your pocketbook a favor and steer clear.

Instead, if you need to lose weight to be healthy, do it the good old fashioned way that really works. I know everyone wants a quick fix, but real, sustainable weight loss comes from eating less, focusing on a whole foods, largely veggie-based diet rich in superfoods and green juices. And you canít forget exercise.

If youíre really motivated to lose weight the healthy way, you must start by getting out of your own way and doing the mental, emotional, and spiritual work to get you ready for the healthy body you desire. So sign up for the free Get Out Of Your Own Way mini e-course here and stay tuned for more on healthy, self-loving weight loss, radical self care, and the personal changes youíll need to undertake in order to lose weight with love.

What do you think? Have you tried this diet? Did I convince you to steer clear? What weight loss techniques have worked for you? Dish.

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Michele Ramirez
Michele Ramirez3 years ago

I did 3 1/2 rounds of HCG lost nearly 50lbs was one of the easiest ways I have ever lost the weight so not so sure it's a scam. The only thing I would be aware of is some side effects. I had to stop the diet into 4th round. The first three rounds I felt pretty awesome except With a little throat issues such as hoarseness, dry throat and soreness after the first round. I was assured it was ok so I kept on and was told by the supplier ( millennium health spa releana) to drink more water which I did. Kept getting more hoarse. I began feeling weak and started craving sugar with never happened until the 4th round. So I voice never got better. I had to go to speech therapy and am under the care of a specialist ENT who scoped my throat aprox 4 times. Now a year later I am still dealing with this problem. One of my vocal cords continually fails to work. I still have hoarseness, throat muscle soreness from straining to speak. I have continual problems with people understanding my words because it sounds like I have laryngitis..every day I have to deal with this. It is completely annoying and I am considering suing the company for informing me that this product was safe. Even after I cplained of such issues. I have looked on other blogs and have noticed others have had similar problems with their voice with the use of this product. Yes it works for weight loss but at what cost for some?? I had no idea wish I would have. I'm writing this blog not to discourage the use of thi

Lisa C.
Lisa C.3 years ago

It is sad how someone who obviously has ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE with this diet can openly belittle the wonderful effects of Hcg and the Dr. Simeons Protocol and potentially stop someone else from freeing themselves by succeeding at weight loss. I have personally lost over 60 lbs from this "unhealthy, fraudulent, BS" Diet. I didn't stop there either. My husband followed losing 75 lbs , my dad over 40, my sister 45 and since then I have led a group of over 20 people in my community lose well over 500 lbs!! Pretty amazing for a fraudulent diet. Every single person that I know personally that has followed this diet has lost weight and felt great. Not just a couple of pounds but 10, 20,30, 70+ lbs. Just as incredible to me is the fact that I have been off the actual 500 calorie diet for 6 months. I made it through Thanksgiving and Christmas and I haven't gained ANY of it back! For those of you who are seriously interested in losing weight and keeping it you can check out our support page at This is our local community page where we all pull together and support each other as we succeed at proving the person that wrote this article WRONG! The Hcg Diet does require a strict diet but it works and I am going to continue to help people find freedom from being trapped in their overweight bodies and I suggest you only take advice from people who have actually done the diet cause others just don't have a clue what they are talking about.

Shalom Shick
Shalom Shick3 years ago

You go, Ashley C & Cynthia M! Preach! Sooo many folks simply don't know enough about this subject to comment on it, including the author of this article, sadly. Blessings on you for your boldness to share your wonderful experiences that prove this Protocol is truly answered prayer. If anyone wants to get REAL, pharmaceutical grade hCG, check out where I have listed 3 reliable sources that I have personally used and recommended to hundreds of other folks who have had results just like yours!!!
Blessings with love, B'Shem Yahshua (in the Name of 'Jesus'),

Ashley C.
Ashley Chambers3 years ago

I couldn't even finish reading the article. I did two rounds of HCG, lost 45 lbs. More importantly then that, after being sick with Fibromyalgia for 10 years & nearing the point of applying for disability, & wishing I would die; I feel great! I can have a life. I'm running, I'm laughing, I enjoy life. I usually love this web site but this article could deture people from making the best choice of their lives so I had to speak against it!

Cynthia M.
Cynthia M.4 years ago

I successfully completed two rounds of injectable HCG and lost a total of 30lbs. I loved the diet, was not hungry and found that my fat disappeared from the areas I wanted it to. I have not gained more than a pound back and it has helped me to created a loving relationship with my physical body. I was able to lose the pounds that held a lot of painful memories and stored emotions. Although HCG is not an FDA approved diet drug, it certainly helped me to do it. I have also found that there are many things that the FDA doesn't approve of that actually help people.

Pedro D.
Pedro D.4 years ago

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Tracy W.
Tracy W.4 years ago

I have had terrible problems with this diet and think it is COMPLETELY misleading!!! If you feel the same way, I'd love to get in contact with you because I'm looking for other dieters who've felt duped by this diet and want some revenge on the suppliers. A class action law suit is building and we need more brave people to step forward and speak up against the HCG lies. Contact me:

Ioana Boca
Ioana B.4 years ago

Thanks for the post

Lika S.
Lika S.4 years ago

Any of these diet plans you see plastered all over the ads, infomercials, etc... they're all fads, and whom ever is behind it is on a "get rich quick" scam. Don't buy it. Any of it.

If you want to lose weight and go on a diet, go see your primary care physician, and see what would be right for you. There are so many of the good ones that none are a one size fits all. But some of the good ones are following a certain number calorie diet, that usually goes from 1,000-2,500 calories a day, and you have your choice of how many servings from each category, that includes all food groups. The South Beach diet is a good one for many, along with the Dr. Gott's "No Sugar/No Flour" diet.

There are a couple others, but as I said, go to your trusted primary care physician! That, along with a mild exercise regimen should do you fine. You know what you can do and what you can afford. Walk, ride a bike, go to a park, etc...

Stephanie Todd
Stephanie Todd4 years ago

I despise the HCG diet. I've had several family members go on the diet despite my warnings. No doubt they lost weight from eating 500 calories a day and they did it pretty quickly! Problem was that only a month after having stopped they gained ALL of their weight back. There is only one miracle weight loss plan and that is diet and exercise.