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The hcG Diet

NY Times has an article today about injecting hcG in order to lose weight.  You can go laugh for a moment; I can wait.

The regimen combines daily injections with a near-starvation diet, and patients, mostly women, are often enticed by promises that they can lose about a pound a day without feeling hungry. Perhaps even more seductively, they are frequently told that the hCG will prompt their bodies to carry away and metabolize fat that has been stored where they least want it — in their upper arms, bellies and thighs.

I would post a picture of the fat ass I received from fertility drugs, but I don’t want to freak these women out.  Granted, I wasn’t consuming 500 calories a day and I was only injecting hcG once a cycle, but still, hard for me see pictures of myself pre-treatments and post-treatments and not do a slightly hysterical laugh when I hear diet stories like this.*

*Just to be clear, I have no opinion on the actual diet since I haven’t read any of the research.  I am merely commenting that hcG took me in the completely opposite direction from these women.


1 Betsy { 03.08.11 at 1:01 pm }

I think it was hcg I was googling when a bunch of bodybuilder sites popped up instead of what I was looking for. Crazy!

2 Lisa { 03.08.11 at 1:12 pm }

Of all the crazy diets I’ve seen recently, this has to take the cake. It’s amazing what people are willing to do to the insides of their bodies to make the outside look good. Although I’m not sure if it’s the hcG injections or the 500 calories that’s crazier. Sigh.

3 NotTheMama { 03.08.11 at 1:27 pm }

Um. Is it just me, or wouldn’t you probably lose weight anyway if you restricted yourself to 500 calories? I probably drink that many in a day!
Oh food is such an emotional thing anyway. I have to go without a lot of stuff and miss out on some things – BUT I will eat the food I want and deal with the weight. Or at least that’s my attitude until I pull a pair of jeans straight outta the dryer! 😉

4 JC { 03.08.11 at 1:48 pm }

My boss is doing this diet!!! I was shocked when she told me about it, craziness. I can’t believe they can only eat 500 cals a day, I would literally pass out b/c of not enough food. I don’t get it…

She has lost 20 lbs though in like a month.

5 Kymberli { 03.08.11 at 1:50 pm }

Several surrogates and intended mothers on SMO have jumped on the hCG diet bandwagon (not whilst cycling, of course), and some have had good results with it. Of course, I personally think it’s nuts. Shooting up with hCG for dietary purposes isn’t what’s whacko to me; restricting to 500 calories per day is laughable. I’d rather stay fat and happy.

6 Another Dreamer { 03.08.11 at 1:50 pm }

I have a good laugh every time I see an ad for it. It also scares me that people would follow this, a woman needs at *minimum* 1200 calories a day. The diet sounds more like a marketing promotion of anorexia to me.

7 Tigger { 03.08.11 at 1:52 pm }

I went on a rant about this back in June, complete with some research I had done: http://tigger-pregnancypredictions.blogspot.com/2010/06/newest-fad-diet.html

Did you know that 500 calories isn’t even enough for your brain to function? I think I know why the people who take it keep taking it….

8 Lollipopgoldstein { 03.08.11 at 1:59 pm }

But from what I’ve read of bariatric surgery — which I do support and can think of people I know who have benefited from it — for the first two months or so, the daily calorie intake is around 500 per day in small meals. Does someone know whether that is true?

9 flyingmonkeys { 03.08.11 at 2:09 pm }

I know several people who’ve done this diet and lost weight. I told them I thought they were crazy then supported them. My weight gain or loss has nothing to do with feeling hungry. If I actually listened to my body’s cues I wouldn’t be fat. I eat because it’s how I hide and how I cope. I could do this diet, probably become a near homicidal maniac while in the 500 calorie phase and then regain all that I lost back when I’m shoved back out there not really having learned how to deal with what’s really bothering me.

10 Heidi { 03.08.11 at 2:12 pm }

I first found out about these diets when a local morning DJ was pushing the WeightNot program from Reveal MedSpa; when I looked it up out of curiosity and found out it included hcG shots, I had a good laugh (voluntarily taking fertility shots? bwa ha ha!). Had no idea it also included a 500-calorie intake. Even if it works at first, there’s no way it’s healthy or sustainable.

11 HereWeGoAJen { 03.08.11 at 2:59 pm }

It just sounds like a bad idea.

12 a { 03.08.11 at 2:59 pm }

I’m pretty sure that hCG did nothing but enhance my appetite…

13 flmgodog { 03.08.11 at 3:27 pm }

I want to comment so badly with a witty statement but I am laughing so hard at this diet I can’t stand it. Everytime I hear an ad on the radio I laugh until I cry.

14 Alexis { 03.08.11 at 3:32 pm }

What killed me was that some of them were taking homeopathic hCG. Talk about a way to waste your money.

15 Denver Laura { 03.08.11 at 3:35 pm }

I heard about this diet 6 years ago. A co-worker decided to try it and yes, lost weight. Like any fad diet, once the shots are stopped and you eat more than 500 calories a day, you gain the weight back.

As a side note, my co-worker had to go to the Doctor to get injected. One of the worst nights for me during the TTC years was staring at this long needle filled with hCG trying to work up the guts to shoot myself up with it at 1 am.

16 TasIVFer { 03.08.11 at 5:18 pm }

I didn’t think you could wait long enough for me to stop laughing! Yeah, I’m totally sure it’s the hcG that would make people lose weight and not the oh-so healthy 500 calorie intake. You should see all the weight I lost on hcG – it’s easy to show you because it decided to ‘display’ itself conveniently all around my body like some cross between a fat suit and the head of an elk some hick shot.

17 It is what it is { 03.08.11 at 5:26 pm }

A parent at my son’s school had bariatric surgery two weeks ago and is limited to a 700 calorie/day diet.

I have many IRL friends who have done the prescribed HCG Diet (as written by Dr. Simeons 40+ years ago) all with great success. All but one have maintained their weight loss.

Dr. Oz also did a show recently discussing the diet in depth, pros/cons. As someone who considered doing it, it was interesting to hear his opinion. I also got my REs opinion on it.

In the end, every person I know who has done it will tell you that the HCG mutes their appetite. Even if it is the placebo effect, it is interesting b/c left to one’s own devices, MOST people couldn’t actively subsist on 500 cals/day for 21 days.

18 Tigger { 03.08.11 at 5:29 pm }

Mel: http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/dietary_guidelines_after_gastric_bypass/

The difference is what kind of calories you are supposed to consume and when. Remember, too, that this is for people who are morbidly obese, who have “fat to live off of”. Their stomachs are made teeny tiny, so they can only fit a small amount of food in there at a time, and the body can use it’s other stores of fat to substitute what it needs. Not to mention that people who do bariatric surgery are doing so under a doctor’s guidelines and monitoring.

19 Callie { 03.08.11 at 5:54 pm }

Last time I restricted to 500 calories a day, I ended up in an eating disorder inpatient unit. Just saying… This really can’t be a good idea!

20 *Out Wish* { 03.08.11 at 6:12 pm }

Thanks to this “wonderful” new diet it’s hard to get hcg now though. I had a huge problem with the cheaper hcg shot being in stock and having to pay for the $80 one because there was a nationwide shortage…

21 Amanda { 03.08.11 at 8:46 pm }

One time I almost couldn’t get ahold of HCG for a trigger. The pharmacy said there was a shortage… because of these idiots I suppose.

22 Mrs.S { 03.08.11 at 10:22 pm }

I wrote quite a bit on my blog regarding my experience with the HCG diet. Feel free to drop by and read more if you’d like. I did this diet through my naturopath and I too scoffed at the description when I read it.

Just to quickly address a couple comments – It is a very small amount of HCG, nothing like you’d receive for fertility treatments. Also, my doctor did not follow the ‘original’ diet of 500 calories a day. I ate about 800-900. Granted it meant I didn’t lose a pound a day, but I also didn’t pass out. I honestly never felt hungry and I don’t believe it was placebo. I believe it was because I was actually eating all the time, but only good food. I would snack on veggies, fruit, and lean meats. Do you know how much you can eat if you’re eating tons of veggies? Fruit smoothie for breakfast, a big salad with chicken for lunch, and maybe a white fish, veggies, and salad for dinner. Not bad.

The reason I did this diet was because I’d been trying legitimately to lose weight for months and months with no success. With my PCOS diagnosis, my doc and I felt it important that I work to lose the extra weight. While I wasn’t taking it directly for fertility treatments this month, indirectly I was still taking it for help our fertility.

Everyone has their reasons. If it helps get someone to their goals, and they go about it the right way (with assistance of a doctor), than I think we should refrain from judgment. I did the research, I asked the questions, and made the decision best for me.

23 Josey { 03.08.11 at 11:30 pm }

Well said Mrs. S! Thanks for weighing in (no pun intended). I admit I had a knee jerk WTH reaction when you said you were doing the HSG diet, but it seems your naturopath knew what he/she was doing. So happy it worked for you!

24 Deathstar { 03.09.11 at 1:44 am }

I don’t believe for one second that Hcg was the “thing” that helped people lose weight. Crap.

25 Rebecca { 03.09.11 at 7:05 am }

It’s not a ‘near-starvation’ diet, it’s a starvation diet. Anything less than 1200 calories can be considered thus.

26 Rose's Daughter { 03.09.11 at 9:50 am }

the sad thing is, I’ve seen people actually do this diet and loose weight. But they always gain it back…..

27 Katie { 03.09.11 at 5:19 pm }

There are actually variations of this diet, and not all require injections. Some, like the one I did, are sublingual drops and an 800 cal diet. It’s important to research it clearly before jumping to conclusions about the effectiveness or safety of it. Anyone serious about doing it should always be monitored and make sure that the HCG they purchase isn’t “watered down”

28 Battynurse { 03.10.11 at 10:05 am }

I think that basically this is another fad sort of diet. I haven’t researched it much but I’ve heard of other people doing it.
As far as one of your comments above Mel, you are correct in the amount of calories a person is taking in after bariatric surgery. For the first two weeks after surgery I was on a clear liquid diet and was taking in like 500 calories a day or less. It went up a bit the next couple of weeks with soft foods but I could still only eat about 2 tbsp of food at a time.

29 magpie { 03.10.11 at 10:43 am }

Here’s what I didn’t understand. There was a photo of of a woman injecting herself in the belly – i.e. subQ – http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/03/08/jphcg1.html. Isn’t the hCG trigger an intramuscular shot?

30 Bea { 03.13.11 at 7:56 am }

magpie – my hCG shots were always SQ.


31 Doug { 04.13.11 at 4:11 pm }

I am on this diet. now and I am grateful for it. I dont get hungry during the diet and I check to make sure that I am producing keytones which is an indicator that I am using fat. I may gain weight back But I dont think so. I have learn many new ways filling ways to prepare and eat food. I am getting my weight down so I can start running again.. I am too heavy for my knees to run right now. So this diet is helping me to get back to a healthy life again. You gals to need to open your minds. I also take my own shots. This is the only diet that has worked for me I have lost 24 pounds in 13 days. and cheated twice . OOPS

32 Shannon { 05.02.11 at 12:00 pm }

I have been on my first round of the hcg diet and LOVE it! I lost 35 pounds in 30 days and am maintaining it. I will be going on my second round in 2 1/2 weeks and can’t wait! As for the earlier comment about the brain not being able to function on 500 calories…I am living proof that it can! I hold a high level director position and never felt sharper! Please don’t knock this unless you have an informed opinion.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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