hCG for Weight Loss?

The use of hCG for weight loss has created a lot of talk in the health and fitness community. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone that is secreted from cells in the placenta during pregnancy, and also helps develop a woman’s eggs and facilitates the release of the egg during ovulation. The hCG hormone has also been used by medical doctors for treatment of infertility. The successful medical use of the hormone has led to the creation of supplements claiming users can lose 30 lbs in 30 days. So what exactly is the hCG diet?

Fast Facts about the hCG Diet

The hCG diet started in the 1950’s but quickly faded in popularity until recently – because of a lack of research proving its effectiveness as a weight loss supplement

The diet is centered on drops, injections, pills or sprays of the hCG hormone and a very low caloric intake of 500 calories per day

The hCG Theory

The hCG hormone is said to promote mobilization and metabolism of stored fat for additional energy

In theory, the additional energy from hCG’s role in metabolism of fat cells is supposed to make up for the calories not consumed through food (1,500 calories or more)

Why You Should Never Even Consider This

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), hCG is only approved as a prescription for the sole use of treating infertility, and considers all hCG products promoting weight loss to be fraudulent, dangerous and unproven.  As of December 6, 2011 the FDA has labeled all over the counter hCG products marketed as a weight loss supplement illegal.

The hCG diet is very dangerous and can cause major health issues. According to the Harvard Women’s Health Watch hCG dieters are at risk for blood clots, headaches, restlessness, gallstones, heart arrhythmias, depression and dizziness.  The extremely reduced caloric intake can lead to altered metabolic rates and will likely lead to rapid weight gain, often exceeding the dieter’s weight at the start of the diet.   

The strict caloric intake for the hCG diet is not adequate enough to provide essential nutrients needed by the human body.  A typical person must consume approximately 2,000 calories depending on their activity level to sufficiently fuel the body and maintain normal bodily function.

According the Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Science, studies suggest that weight loss experienced on the hCG diet are similar to any extreme diet that severely reduces calories and not from the hCG hormone itself.

Bottom Line

The only proven way to lose weight and improve body composition is to burn more calories than consumed. Forming new habits such as exercise and maintaining a healthy diet is the safest and most effective way to achieve weight loss goals. The hCG diet gets a “no-go” from us. Stay away from it – you’ll be glad you did!


Pandey, S. K. (2012). HCG: Yet another fraudulence. Journal Of Pharmacy & Bioallied Sciences, 4(3), 255-256.

Robb-Nicholson, C. (2010). By the way, doctor. I’ve been trying to lose weight for a long time and nothing seems to work. What do you know about the HCG diet?. Harvard Women’s Health Watch, 17(9), 8.

US Food and  Drug Administration. (2011). HCG diet products are illegal. http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm281333.htm

Ilen & Lauren Bell are the husband and wife team behind Black Fitness Today, born, in 2011, out of their motivation to change culture, build a platform and lead the charge. Their purpose is to help change the culture towards health and fitness in the African-American community, showcase those who are making an impact, and promote healthier living. They also aim to serve as a platform for African-American fitness and health professionals and enthusiasts who are otherwise overlooked in traditional fitness media.

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