HCG Diet Warning

Dr. Dudney receives questions about the “HCG Diet” on a regular basis – even more so recently because it has seen a dramatic resurgence, despite being around (and debunked) since the 1950’s.

What Are HCG Diets?

HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. It is a hormone administered by pills or injections and, combined with a very strict diet (about 500 daily calories), targets anyone who is overweight seeking rapid weight loss. Those who pitch this treatment (usually supplement distributors) claim it burns fat instead of muscle.

Why is this troubling?

The new-found popularity is a concern because many professionals stand firmly against using the HCG protocol for weight loss, citing the ineffectiveness of HCG for weight loss and the low-calorie diet as too low to sustain normal health and metabolic processes. In fact, the American Society of Bariatric Physicians has released a position statement reiterating the findings of numerous clinical trials and scientific studies that determined the weight loss from the HCG diet was due to the restricted caloric intake and not the hormone injections.

What are the latest developments?

HCG was pulled from the market by the FDA in December 2011 for its ineffectiveness and fraudulent claims. Because of old inventory, enforcement problems, and snake-oil ethics, some clinics still sell HCG even though it is useless for weight loss.

In Summary

The official position of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians is the HCG Diet is “improper”, “ineffectual”, and “not recommended.” (Source: ASBP Position On Use of HCG in the Treatment of Obesity)