The HCG Diet Fad: Why It’s NOT For You!

By Martin Brown

Fad diets are like most politicians, lots of promises, but few if any results.

The latest star on the “Wheel of Diet Fortune,” is the “HCG diet,” which combines supplements, or actual injections, of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin with rather severe calorie restriction. Of course if you’re currently on the diet you’re probably amazed by the results. But as is so often the case with fad diets, the only real trick here is the steep cut in caloric intake causing the diet’s devotees to lose weight. As for the hormone HCG, neither its safety or efficacy as a diet supplement has been tested or proven. HCG is a hormone produced during pregnancy, it is typically purchased as a prescription medication for the treatment of fertility issues.

Supporters of HCG for dieting suggest that it burns fat at a faster rate and somehow causes your body to redistribute the fat that it has stored principally in your buttocks and stomach. In other words, a miracle drug that targets the two areas that most women worry about, their butt and gut!

As part of the HCG diet you either receive injections of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone or take it in a supplement form. At the same time the diet recommends that followers cut their food consumption from a low of 500 to a high of 800 calories a day. In most cases, for most women, depending on their size, weight, and age, that number of calories would be equal to about one-half of their standard dietary intake. As a diet and fitness coach and writer I can tell you that any caloric restriction that steep is going to bring about a rather rapid and noticeable weight loss.

Although the idea behind HCG diets have been studied for many years, there are no studies done by recognized and respected research groups, particularly with a university affiliation, that have shown human chorionic gonadotropin hormone as directly influencing weight loss, no less a redistribution of body fat.

Are there dangers in following the HCG diet? Some, yes, but overall, its real potential harm is to your savings as opposed to your health. But if you’re convinced by a gal pal, or perhaps someone interested in selling you on the use of the HCG hormone, to give this diet a try, you should consider these three heath risks:

First, a drastic reduction in your caloric intake can cause unwelcome results including dizziness, fatigue, inability to focus on your tasks either at work or at home. Failing to meet your body’s daily nutritional needs is always putting your well being at risk.

Second, human chorionic gonadotropin hormone can cause some side effects such as frequent headaches, fatigue, and  irritability. If you know a guy who’s interested in taking  HCG he should first know that it can cause male breast enlargement, commonly known as “moobs.”

Third, like all fad products, HCG is available on the Internet. That means it may not be the hormone that it claims to be and even if it is it might be tainted. So if you’re totally into trying HCG at least do your research and know that it’s coming to your from a reputable source.

Most people who have tried an HCG diet, find they rather quickly regain any weight they lost while on the program.

Starting January 1st I’m going to give a tip a day for 50 days based on my diet and exercise program, Fit in 50 Days. It’s no miracle or fad diet program just lots of ideas and inspirational thoughts on building the body you always wanted to have or would like to bring back.

One of my subjects in the book I call, diets not detours. Real diets are programs that meet all your nutritional needs, leaving you feeling great, and helping you to not just lose weight, but far more importantly, maintain that weight loss. HCG is not really a diet, it’s a detour. And from the research I’ve reviewed, it’s not a detour ever worth the taking.


Martin Brown is the Heath Channel Editor for, and co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Finding Mr. Right.

His latest book is Fit in 50 Days.

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