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HCG Diet Protocol


Many diet plans over the years have promoted HCG for weight loss, marketing the pregnancy hormone as a veritable miracle drug that can burn fat quickly and even re-shape fatty areas of the body to take on more attractive contours. But some in the medical community insist that the HCG diet protocol is a scam, requiring followers to undergo a near-starvation eating regimen that not only puts their health at risk, but can’t be sustained in the long run.

Many consumers who have struggled with myriad diets want to believe the weight loss claims being made about HCG. But what does the scientific evidence have to say?

HCG diet plan started in the 1950s

The original HCG diet protocol was developed in Britain in the 1950s by Dr. A.T.W. Simeons. His book “Pounds and Inches” outlined a strict weight loss program combining a 500-calorie diet with daily doses of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a hormone extracted from the placenta and urine of pregnant women.

On Dr. Simeons’ HCG diet plan, patients follow a 500-calorie diet for three weeks, taking HCG every day. All foods are allowed except for sugar and starch.

A recent version of the HCG diet plan was devised by infomercial salesman Kevin Trudeau. His book “The Weight Loss Cure” laid out a regimen that includes apple cider vinegar, coral calcium, coconut oil, and daily colon cleansing liquids.

Though Trudeau made big claims about the fat-destroying properties of HCG, in 2008 he was fined $37 million by the Federal Trade Commission for false and misleading claims regarding the HCG weight loss plan.

Learn about the HCG diet recipes.

Doctors question HCG for weight loss

Many physicians are skeptical about the claims made by proponents of the HCG diet protocol, and some outright reject the legitimacy of HCG as a weight loss agent.

US News Health, for example, quoted Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, as saying of the HCG diet plan, “it’s reckless, irresponsible, and completely irrational.”

“Can you lose weight on it?” asks Cohen. “Of course, but that’s mainly because you’re hardly consuming any calories. And any benefit is not going to last.”

Dr. Michael Kaplan of The Center for Medical Weight Loss echoes this opinion.

“Despite numerous medical studies, no connection between HCG and weight loss has been shown,” explains Dr. Kaplan. “Worse, these plans could put your health in serious danger.”

FDA rejects HCG diet protocol

The FDA has also weighed in on the controversy, requiring every product that contains HCG to include the following warning on the label:

“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.”

The FDA also issued a public safety communication alerting consumers to the fact that selling an over-the-counter diet product containing HCG is illegal.

Dr. Kaplan adds that, “HCG weight loss is also dangerous because the compounding pharmacies who make the HCG products by extracting the hormone out of the urine of pregnant women do not test donors for infectious diseases such as HIV or hepatitis. That means anyone following a HCG weight loss program could be at risk of being exposed to these and other illnesses borne by bodily fluids.”

The good news for people looking to find an effective and sustainable diet is that they don’t have to rely on HCG for weight loss.

“Patients following a medical weight loss program like the one at The Center for Medical Weight Loss not only lose weight quickly, they do so safely,” reports Dr. Kaplan. “And unlike HCG diet programs, the medical weight loss approach has been scientifically proven to help people lose excess weight and keep it off.”

The Center for Medical Weight Loss operates 450 locations across the country. To see if there is a center near you, enter your zip code in the search box above. Introductory offers are available for first-time visitors at select locations.