hCG: A Sensationalized Diet Plan

With numerous weight loss programs on the market, selecting the right one can be overwhelming, and even off-putting. So many questions: which plan will work best for your body, your current health conditions, your lifestyle? Then there is always the issue of whether the program is legitimate, and will help you to lose weight in a health-conscious way that will positively impact your life.

One weight loss plan that has fallen under much scrutiny is the hCG Diet. While versions of this hormonal dietary plan have existed for hundreds of years, it was in the 1950’s that British physician Dr. Albert T. Simeons first began marketing it as a medical weight loss strategy.
According to Dr. Simeons’ proposal, participants would experience weight loss by combining severe dietary restrictions with daily injections of the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG), particularly in the stomach, hips, and thighs. Dr. Simeons claimed that in addition to burning stored body fat, his hormonal treatment plan would ensure dieters lose more fat cells than muscle mass. It was also said that this would be achieved without severe temperament or hunger pain issues. 

Since the 1950’s, some of the hCG dietary practices have changed, though much has stayed the same.
The premise of the hCG Diet still heavily relies on the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone, naturally produced by the body, predominantly by women during pregnancy for fetal growth development. Participants will take the hCG hormone via injection or by ingesting a homeopathic version of the product. These versions are available in oral sprays, drops, or tablet form. Additionally, participants will limit their dietary intake to 500 calories per day. The extreme cut in calories is intended to retune the participant’s metabolism, allowing them to lose as much as a pound of fat per day. Combined with the hCG hormone, it is believed this will be achieved without the participant feeling famished or weak. The plan is to be followed for a total of eight weeks.
Dr. Simeons original research treated 500 patients who followed the plans for 40 days and lost an average of 20-30 lbs. Further studies conducted throughout the succeeding decades and published in a variety of medical journals have questioned the validity of the effects of the hCG hormone in regards to weight loss. Despite this, the hCG diet continues to be an attractive weight loss program. In recent years the hCG dietary lifestyle has seen a resurgence due to in part tto the endorsements of the popular television personality Dr. Oz.

Regardless of the hCG injections, any time an individual participates wholeheartedly in an extreme low-calorie diet, they will experience weight loss. As of 2016, none of the hCG products have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, citing, “There is no substantial evidence that hCG increases weight loss.”

For effective weight management solutions, contact your local Metabolic Medical Center to discuss possible options.

For further information, here are some medical research studies addressing hCG and weight loss:

  • J Diet Suppl. 2016 Nov;13(6):694-9. Evidence for, and Associated Risks with, the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Supplemented Diet. Butler SA, Cole LA.
  • Ann Pharmacother. 2013 May;47(5):e23. Effect of the human chorionic gonadotropin diet on patient outcomes. Goodbar NH1, Foushee JA, Eagerton DH, Haynes KB, Johnson AA.
  • W V Med J. 2011 Jan-Feb;107(1):12-3. "There they go again"-- hCG and weight loss. Toffle RC.
  • Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1995 Sep;40(3):237-43. The effect of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity by means of the Simeons therapy: a criteria-based meta-analysis. Lijesen GK1, Theeuwen I, Assendelft WJ, Van Der Wal G.
  • S Afr Med J. 1990 Feb 17;77(4):185-9. Human chorionic gonadotrophin and weight loss. A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Bosch B1, Venter I, Stewart RI, Bertram SR.
  • Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 1987 May;47(5):297-307. [Risk-benefit analysis of a hCG-500 kcal reducing diet (cura romana) in females]. [Article in German] Rabe T, Richter S, Kiesel L, Runnebaum B.
  • J Fam Pract. 1977 Mar;4(3):445-8. A clinical study of the use of human chorionic gonadotrophin in weight reduction. Miller R, Schneiderman LJ.
  • Arch Intern Med. 1977 Feb;137(2):151-5. Human chorionic gonadotropin ( hCG) treatment of obesity. Shetty KR, Kalkhoff RK.
  • JAMA. 1976 Nov 29;236(22):2495-7. Chorionic gonadotropin in weight control. A double-blind crossover study. Young RL, Fuchs RJ, Woltjen MJ.
  • Am J Clin Nutr Feb 1973; 26(2):211-218. Effect of human chorionic gonadotrophin on weight loss, hunger, and feeling of well-being. W. L. Asher, M.D. and Harold W. Harper, M.D.
  • Am J Clin Nutr Jun 1969; 22(6):681-685. Chorionic Gonadotropin and Obesity?

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