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HCG Diet Recipes Pose Health Risks

Jacky Gale | December 27th, 2012

HCG Diet Side Effects

The old adage that you should try everything once certainly does not apply to dangerous fad diets. The use of HCG for weight loss is a perfect example. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone that pregnant women naturally produce. Although approved as a fertility treatment, the use of hCG has not been approved by the FDA as a weight loss treatment. In fact, the FDA has issued warning letters to companies that sell hCG products and make unsubstantiated claims about their efficacy for weight loss.

Dieters who use these products are advised to stick to a 500-calorie per day meal plan. Nutritionists tend to agree that anything less than 800 calories per day is considered a starvation diet. Extreme fad diets such as this one cannot lead to sustainable or healthy weight loss. Instead, dieters should follow a nutritious meal plan customized for their specific dietary needs, such as a diet plan offered by The Center for Medical Weight Loss.

HCG diet recipes offer insufficient nutrition

A typical HCG diet involves four phases. The first phase is preparation, in which the dieter drinks plenty of water and tea, walks an hour daily, and eats as much organic food as he or she wishes six times daily. During the second phase, the dieter would begin using hCG products and eat no more than 500 calories per day. The third phase reintroduces regular eating, with some restrictions (i.e. no artificial sweeteners or fast food). Phase four is the maintenance phase, in which the dieter is encouraged to learn healthy eating habits.

During the 500-calorie per day phase, a dieter might follow a daily menu that looks like this:


Coffee or tea

6 strawberries


Chicken egg roll


Meat kabob


Orange Julius

Sample recipes

To prepare the meat kabob, the dieter would cube 100 g of any preferred meat, cut one onion into wedges, and marinate both items with 1 tsp. seasoning and 1/4 cup dressing. The meat and onions are then grilled on skewers.

Other sample HCG diet recipes include the Japanese cucumber salad, which consists of 1 sliced cucumber, 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tbsp. amino acids, 1 tsp. minced onion, and cayenne and stevia to taste. All ingredients should be combined, marinated, and served chilled.

Similar recipes on this diet plan may be devised using 100 g of the dieter’s preferred meat, small amounts of sliced, low-calorie vegetables, and small amounts of herbs or other seasonings for flavor.

HCG health risks

A very low-calorie diet such as this one poses serious health risks. When the body does not receive adequate calories and nutrition to support itself, it shuts down. Damage to the heart, brain, and other internal organs can result, as well as stroke, heart attack, and heart failure. These conditions may lead to death. In addition, gallstones may form, which can lead to nausea, bloating, and severe pain. Surgery may be required to remove the gallstones. Other possible side effects of severe calorie restriction can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss

In addition to the health risks of the calorie restriction, dieters may also experience complications from the hCG products themselves. Users may experience effects similar to those experienced during pregnancy, such as water retention, swelling, and breast tenderness. Users have also reported blood clots, leg cramps, headaches, depression, and male breast enlargement. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) may also occur. This is a potentially life-threatening condition that can cause kidney failure, electrolyte imbalances, and fluid accumulation in the chest or abdomen.

Instead of using HCG for weight loss, follow a doctor’s advice

Instead of using dangerous fad diets like the HCG diet, those who wish to lose weight should follow a physician-developed diet plan. The best and healthiest way to lose weight is in a manner that is sustainable. Losing 5 lbs. in a matter of days might sound appealing, but the dieter is more than likely to gain it all back.

Don’t risk your health on an unproven, dangerous starvation diet. The trained physicians at The Center for Medical Weight Loss will work closely with you to develop a weight loss plan that suits your unique needs and preferences. Join the thousands of people who have already written their weight loss success stories at the Center. At select locations, introductory offers are available to first-time clients. Enter your zip code in the search box to find a location near you.