By Dr. Rick Tague
HCG … is it for me?
Probably not. There has been a resurgence of interest in the HCG Diet in recent months. HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin which is a hormone secreted by the trophoblastic cells of the placenta during pregnancy. Dr. A. Simeons proposed it as a treatment of obesity back in 1954. At that time, it was part of a 500 calorie diet in conjunction with 125 units of HCG injected six days per week for eight weeks. Patients were instructed to eat just two meals a day with a less than recommended protein allowance (just 45-50 grams per day). The diet reemerged in the 1970s as a rapid weight loss plan claiming minimal hunger, no noticeable weakness and significant fat loss in the stomach, hips, thighs and upper arms. After a series of trials debunking the effectiveness of the HCG Diet, it fell out of favor until just recently.
But what are the facts? “A meta-analysis review in 1995 concluded that there is no scientific evidence that HCG is effective in the treatment of obesity.”¹ This review found no sufficient evidence that HCG could effectively alter fat distribution, hunger or induced a feeling of well-being and concluded that the weight loss was entirely due to the VLCD (very low calorie diet) of 500 calories per day. The authors stated, “…the use of HCG should be regarded as an inappropriate therapy for weight reduction…”
Protein levels of the Simeons HCG Diet are below RDA guidelines and not sufficient for initiation of muscle protein synthesis (below 30 grams per serving).²
HCG injections have shown a slight increase in muscle mass in testosterone-deficient males.
The majority of medical reports and trials are critical of the HCG method.
No solid medical evidence suggests the HCG Diet is effective in treating obesity.
No significant harmful effect of HCG injections have been noted in literature.
A 1976 article in JAMA stated “There was no statistically significant difference between those receiving HCG vs placebo during any phase of this study.” A study of 202 patients, double-blind, random cross-over study.³
At the Center For Nutrition, we only recommend medically proven therapies based on solid research. Our program has produced successful results for thousands* of patients. We are dedicated to empowering patients to achieve and maintain optimal weight and metabolic health through proven protocols and implementation of effective treatments based on bariatric science and expert implementation by a certified, professional staff.
¹ British journal of clinical pharmacology 1995; 40: 237-243. PMCID 1365103.
² Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2009; 12: 86-90.
Am J Clin Nutri 2008; 87:1562S-1566.
Am J Clin Nutr 2008; 87: 1558S-1561.
J Am Diet Assoc 2009; 109: 1582-1586.
³ JAMA, Nov 29, 1976–Vol 236, No. 22.
*Data on File, Center For Nutrition, available upon request.