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. “LOSE 40 POUNDS AND YOUR BELLY FAT IN 6 WEEKS WITHOUT HUNGER, AND KEEP IT OFF!” 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?
It’s based on the work of Dr. Albert Simeons from the 1950’s, 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 “prove” 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 isn’t 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 you’re pregnant, and because you’re starving the body, it starts eating away at fat — and you get no hunger pangs! Sounds good, right?