I noticed that this HCG weight loss program is generating a lot of interest recently, so I started researching about it. Hormones injections? 500 calories per day? It didn’t take me much time to start thinking that it was a scam. But I kept on researching, and while I was studying the books and the articles, the idea that this diet is a nonsense became robust.
First, I think in the process of evaluating information you should always consider from what source that information comes from.
The idea of the HCG weight loss program comes from Albert Simeons, an english endocrinologist who died in 1970. In his book Pounds and inches a new approach to obesity he explains his theories about obesity. They made me roll my eyes as I read them. Here some pearls
“I have always held that overeating is the result of the disorder, not its cause.”
Good starting point to create a new crazy diet: switching causes with effects.
“Obesity in all its many forms is due to an abnormal functioning of some part of the body.”
Of course, there is “some part somewhere” that causes obesity…
“Persons suffering from this particular disorder will get fat regardless of whether they eat excessively, normally or less than normal. A person who is free of the disorder will never get fat, even if he frequently overeats.”
Really. And what about the poor areas of Africa? There should be fat people there too even if they are starving. And what about the US, with one of the fattest populations on the planet? Is it only a coincidence that their diet is frequently full of junk food?
“If I can be forgiven for comparing my fellow-endocrinologists with wicked godmothers, HCG has certainly been their Cinderella, and I can only romantically hope that its extraordinary effect on abnormal fat will prove to be its fairy godmother.”
I usually appreciate personality and sense of humor even in professional work, but this book clearly isn’t anywhere professional.
However, let’s see what this quick-fix diet consists of. In short, it’s about starving yourself with a 500 calories diet and adding HCG. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is an hormone produced by pregnant women in their early pregnancy, with a peak at about 13 weeks. Simeons says he observed a reduction of abnormal-excessive fat in pregnant women on a calorie deficient diet, deducing that this effect was due to HCG.
His theory was that this hormone somehow programs the hypothalamus to trigger the consumption of this excess of fat instead of lean muscle, thus could be used to realize the dream of many: lose fat only where it’s needed.
According to this, Simeons created the following HCG weight loss program:
STANDARD CYCLE (described more in detail in the book)
- Weight: to lose up to 15 pounds (7 kg).
- Duration: 26 days. The duration remains the same even if the patient needs to lose less than 15 pounds.
- Diet: 500 calories per day.
- HCG: 23 daily injections from the first day. No injections in the last 3 days, only the 500 calories diet.
HEAVIER CYCLE (the book is not very precise here, the following comes out making two counts)
- Weight: to lose more than 15 pounds (7 kg) but less than 34 pounds (15 kg)
- Duration: ~48 days. The treatment stops earlier if the 34 pounds loss is reached.
- Diet: 500 calories per day.
- HCG: 40 injections here. He suggests only 6 injections per week to delay a sort of immunization effect that may appear after a while. That makes ~45 days. Not repeated, but I deduce that the last 3 days HCG-free thing is still valid, that makes ~48 days.
While the 40 injections limit is to avoid immunization to HCG, the 34 pounds limit is clearly intended not to weaken the body too much.
MORE CYCLES: to lose more than 34 pounds (15 kg) the treatment can be repeated. But after a 40 days cycle, a resting period of 6 weeks must be observed to make the hormone effective again.
This is basically what the HCG weight loss program is. Before I go with further details, I need to point out two things.
Simeons says clearly that the assumption of HCG must happen through injections. This is the original version of the HCG weight loss program, and drops are never cited in his book. But injections means needles, and this creates a big problem for the industry of fraudsters who market this diet: people is uncomfortable with the idea of being injected daily with needles.
So how did they make the hormone assumption more inviting? Drops! Easy to take for customers, easy to ship worldwide. The funniest thing is that since FDA declared the use of HCG fraudulent (December 2011) some suppliers started to produce HCG free drops!
Geniuses. Selling HCG products without HCG.
Second, there are a lot of misunderstandings and errors in internet about this subject. I browsed many sites that promote the HCG weight loss program to understand what it was.
But it’s even hard to find a consistent description of the plan: time schedules and hormone dosages vary from site to site. I am pretty sure that many authors of those sites have never read the Simeons book.
Back to the diet plan, there is something totally crazy.
Have you seen the program above? Well, you can’t just go to your physician and start it like nothing. No, you have to prepare. There is a prerequisite to start the HCG weight loss program that doctor Simeons explain well: you must eat like a pig for one week.
I’m not kidding. He says that since the 500 calories is very hard (I would not say the contrary, of course) before starting the program the patient must stock all the normal fat reserves by eating to capacity:
“highly concentrated foods such as milk chocolate, pastries with whipped cream sugar, fried meats particularly pork, eggs and bacon, mayonnaise, bread with thick butter and jam, etc“.
He’s basically saying that you should eat some of the most harmful, chemical-loaded, processed foods around. I could understand if there was some logic about the calorie quantities (there is not).
But here we are not talking about simple highly caloric foods, that cause obesity instead of preventing it. Here we are talking about foods that have many other side effects on the health of a person. Diabetes, high cholesterol, dental caries to name a few. This is pure folly.
Take a look in the websites that market the HCG weight loss program. You will find enthusiast tones. You fill find lots of evidence from people swearing on the effectiveness of the hormone there. But if you dig deeper you can find real sites not sponsored by the sellers, and forums in those sites where the truth comes out.
People writing that they’re not able to follow the plan, because it’s too strict. They talk about the cravings, the hunger, the exceptions they do in the night, the early weight loss (due to the starvation) always followed by new gains of weight.
Don’t fall into this trap. Don’t think in terms of 26 days or 48 days, because diet is not something that is done for a short period. Diet is something you have for life, and it’s based on your lifestyle and attitude.
You can’t stress your organism by eating crap for one week, then starve it for some weeks, then come out of the period with a fit body and expect your life to be the perfect. This is just a nonsense.
So, stay away from the HCG diet, in my opinion is definitely a scam.