Get a free weekly newsletter with recipe!

HCG Diet Plan: Promises Much, Yields Little

Whitney | July 19th, 2012

The HCG diet plan is a highly touted weight loss solution for burning fat and calories at an accelerated pace. The program claims to effectively drop up to 30 pounds in a single month. While this claim of HCG weight loss may sound attractive, the diet does not deliver as promised for the large majority of dieters. Concerns about HCG weight loss have been raised by the medical community, as well as the FDA.

What is the HCG Diet Plan?

The HCG weight loss program boasts that it can help dieters shed up to 30 pounds in a single month. The plan combines an extremely low-calorie diet (500 calories) with daily doses of HCG, which is touted as an effective fat burner and weight loss aid. HCG may be administered by injections or over-the-counter drops and pills.

Human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG, is a pregnancy hormone that is used to treat infertility. While numerous studies have been done on HCG weight loss, no solid evidence has been found to label this substance as an effective fat burner or weight loss aid. Another issue with the HCG diet plan is that over-the-counter HCG has not been approved for use by the FDA. This means that the drops and pills dieters purchase at their local pharmacy are not only unregulated – they are probably illegal as well.

The FDA recently issued a consumer alert stating that HCG has never been proven as an effective weight loss tool. The FDA warning also said selling HCG formulas over the counter is illegal in the United States. Even prescription HCG is required to carry a warning label that states there is “no substantial evidence that it [the HCG diet plan] increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction…or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.”

Low Calorie Count Credited with HCG Weight Loss

Many health experts agree that the key to dropping pounds on the HCG diet plan is the low-calorie diet, rather than the HCG. Dr. Michael Kaplan, physician and founder of the Center for Medical Weight Loss (CMWL), explains, “Don’t look to an HCG weight loss program to lose weight. Not only are they expensive and unproven – they’re dangerous.” Dr. Kaplan recommends that patients who are serious about finding an effective way to lose weight and keep it off turn to physician-directed programs that customize weight loss plans to a patient’s specific needs. These programs combine individualized counseling with reasonable diets and exercise programs to produce the best possible weight loss results.

CMWL offers those types of weight loss programs at their 450 centers nationwide. Patients who work with the physicians and other specialists on staff may achieve their weight loss goals quickly and safely, and learn how to keep the weight off during the long term. To find a CMWL location in your area, click on the zip code box to the right. You can also visit their website at