What does the science say?
HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone released during pregancy to make sure the foetus receives adequate nutrition. In the past HCG was thought to promote weight loss. However, after years of research, scientists have found no evidence that the hormone promotes any weight loss. The rapid weight loss has been linked to the 500 calorie restrictive diet followed. Anyone would lose weight on a 500-calorie diet because it’s impossible to meet your energy and nutrition needs when consuming so few calories on a daily basis. The addition of HCG injections makes no difference!
Aside from the rapid weight loss on such a low-calorie diet, there are many unpleasant short-term side effects such as hair loss, headaches, constipation, lethargy, bad breath and amenorrhea (in women), as well as longer term bone and muscle loss, gallstones, and electrolyte imbalances.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved HCG only for prescription to treat women with fertility issues. The homeopathic HCG (the drops) are considered fraudulent and illegal when sold for weight-loss. The FDA also requires all HCG products to carry a warning statement that there is no proof of weight loss or reducing hunger benefits.
The Bottom Line
The HCG diet is not a sustainable weight loss programme. Nor does HCG provide any special properties to aid weight loss. The healthy weight-loss solution is a balanced diet of no less than 5000 kilojoules (1200 calories) per day that includes foods from all food groups, limiting portion sizes, and daily exercise. See our dietitian for an individually tailored plan for you.