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The H.C.G. ("hCG") Diet Scam Exposed

Written by Print 

In the 1950's, British physician Albert Simeons proposed that a hormone found in the urine of pregnant women could help to bring about weight loss. He believed that an injection of this hormone could allow people to survive on 500 calories a day, burn stored fat, and reduce appetite. Human chorionic gonadotrophin (H.C.G.) was tested extensively, but lost popularity until Kevin Trudeau wrote a book that advocated its use.

All studies on H.C.G. seem to follow the same pattern. Those who tested it alongside normal diets experienced no changes in weight, but those who followed Dr. Simeon's plan to restrict calorie intake to approximately 500 calories per day lost weight. Of course, it is really no scientific breakthrough to discover that starvation causes weight loss.

For some victims of this sham, the most bitter realization will be that this diet also relies on the placebo effect, as will be explained in the next section. To understand this upcoming point, readers must note that true H.C.G. is only available by way of a prescription in the United States, which is what first clued us into something about all of the Internet and retail offers.

Most H.C.G. Is Glorified Water

The H.C.G. offered by the plethora of Internet scammers and retail stores is actually a homeopathic preparation. Homeopathic mixtures nowadays are based on the phoney theory of "water memory", including homeopathic solutions of H.C.G.

Due to real H.C.G. being available only by prescription, the non-prescription homeopathic preparations cannot contain any amount of the substance. Thus, the H.C.G. that is usually bought is homeopathic. It is only water, in other words. Luckily for the crooks, there is no way to test for the special homeopathic "memory" of their water products.

"Beyond questions about the effect of HCG, doctors also warn that the 500-calorie diet doesn't provide the body with enough carbs or protein and will send the body into a state called ketosis. Ketosis is a natural appetite suppressant."

-- Dr. Craig Primack, American Society of Bariatric Physicians

Ketosis is a dangerous condition which leads to the blood pH becoming so extremely acidic, that it is corrosive to internal organs. This state, induced by starvation, can cause long-term damage to the body. It has happened with both the homeopathic and the real H.C.G. versions of the diet, because people still attempt to survive from 500 calories. Ironically, a body will react to this perceived emergency state by attempting to metabolize everything into fat cells, because the diet triggers emergency starvation hormones. This can cause obesity problems for decades. Once the emergency starvation hormones have been activated, they are difficult to turn off. As far as the body is concerned, it is a live or die situation.

The Real H.C.G.

Prescription human chorionic gonadotropin is also an F.D.A. approved fertility drug, and it is listed in the Food and Drug Administration's Pregnancy Category X of drugs. That means anyone who takes H.C.G. while being pregnant is likely to have a child with birth defects. How is that for a known side effect of a fertility drug? Any serious research will produce a long list of potential adverse reactions. Most doctors, even those who specialize in weight loss, will not advocate or prescribe H.C.G. for these reasons. However, there are some dishonorable doctors who will do it when they are pressured by ignorant patients. The following list is not complete, but it gives a glimpse into the reality of H.C.G. consequences.

Known Effects of Real H.C.G.

  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
  • Birth deformities, if taken during pregnancy
  • Early puberty
  • Prostate cancer
  • Severe pelvic pain
  • Swelling of the hands and legs
  • Stomach pain and swelling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight gain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Breast tenderness and swelling
  • Edema
  • Reduced penis size

Pharmaceutical H.C.G. is sometimes administered through a weekly injection, or in drops that are placed under the tongue. These are generally combined with the starvation diet to yield forced weight loss. One could just as easily substitute chemotherapy drugs for even faster weight loss. H.C.G. will cause a loss of muscle and organ tissues. A follower of the H.C.G. diet certainly will not be exercising, and he may have trouble with routine walking, due to the 500 calorie diet. The full effects of the protocol are sometimes only felt years later, when catastrophic damage surfaces. The delayed discovery of such side effects are usually not properly attributed to their real cause, so it is difficult to quantify how much damage the H.C.G. regimen does to its user population.

Most people who believe that they have tried H.C.G. are lucky to have only experienced the homeopathic memory water scam, and merely lost some money that would have been better spent on real dietary improvements. On the other hand, those who get a prescription for the real thing are getting much more than they bargained for. Our concern with the pharmaceutical is actually related to its efficacy. Starvation creates more fat in the long term, since a body will begin defending itself by storing everything as fat, in its emergency famine mode. Toxic pharmaceuticals frequently have the same fattening effect, because a body will protect itself by storing toxins that it cannot flush inside newly created fat cells. It is easy to lose short-term weight through poisoning, but this is hardly health wise. Instead, people should know that serious risks accompany this "wonder drug", and it is not part of legitimate alternative medicine. Its embrace by homeopaths seems to have created a bogus connection between H.C.G. and legitimate natural medicine, when no such association exists. Usage of this hormone comes with a high price. Read the Dieting Right article for an effective way to lose weight, without starving, and without any negative effects.

Unfortunately, natural and legitimate alternative medicines are sometimes incorrectly referred to as "homeopathic" by those who do not recognize the substantial differences. The same labeling problem occurs for legitimate herbalists and everyone else involved in legitimate holistic health therapies. It is segments like homeopathy, which lead to alternative medicine as a whole being dismissed as quackery. It is actually quite understandable, and sad.


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Comments (16)
  • Laura Ray  - Curious

    This is a very interesting article. I wonder if you could provide your resources for research. I am interested in the ones specifically related to HCG side effects and homeopathic preparation. The rest is common knowledge to me. This is an interested subject that I have actually been recently exploring. You have my email address if you are not comfortable posting them. I appreciate your help.

    With regards

  • C. Thomas Corriher (Managing Editor)

    The sources for regular hCG side effects are linked to in the article itself. There are no side effects with the homeopathic version, because it's only water.

    We believe that there was a time in the distant past when homeopathic medicine was a valid alternative. The new age version of "homeopathic medicine" is tolerated specifically because it is ineffective, and therefore it actually aids the business of the establishment, which would otherwise regulate it. It provides a useful service to the establishment, by making alternative medicine appear to be overall quackery, and that's why only with "homeopathic medicines" are unapproved medical claims silently ignored.

    The so-called "homeopathic" version of hCG is plain water, just like all other "homeopathic medicines". There is no hCG in it. The only research that a person needs to do regarding this fraud is to look at THE ingredient: high-priced water. We are far too busy to provide additional research about "memory water", but feel free to research water for yourself.

  • Matthew Denos  - Sarah, Your Thoughts About hHG Are Great

    Hi Sarah,

    I share your opinion about the hHG diet. To me the most convincing evidence that the hHG diet is a baloney comes from Greenways study, titled:

    "Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity: a critical assessment of the Simeons method",

    which showed that"A 6-week study comparing
    injections of HCG to injections of saline showed no
    difference in weight loss between the treated and control
    groups, both of which had been placed on the same
    500 kcal-diet".

    I agree with your position.

  • Lisa

    Thank you for being one of the few that are telling the truth about this total diet myth. I wish more people would do their research before putting their health at risk. Thanks again!

  • Jim  - HCG is effected

    I'm over 50 and have had radiation ,too much in fact causing my thyroid and testosterone levels to drop so mt doctor gives my test injections (i administer them myself, 300mg per week) along with synthroid.

    Every 4 months I get injections of HCG, they 'trick' your body into making it's own natural testosterone and sperm because having synthetic hormones causes your natural level to drop so leaving you with a lower sperm count. Body builders taking mass amounts of testosterone have been known to use HCG because their testicles end up shrinking from over use of the synthetic testosterone.

    When I use HCG 500 i.u. each day for two weeks my sex drive increases along with my body strength.I also notice I feel better and my muscles increase in size though not so much that other folks may notice. I may lose weight though not much because I may have also gained muscle weight.

    Never use HCG in large amounts at once or you will get side effects such as water weight for one and men can get water deposits around the nipples (bitch tits)and hips. I hear HCG can cause many side effects but I have never encountered any myself because I use it in small doses over longer periods like you are suppose to do.

  • Shrinkgirl1  - Starving & robbed by hcg clinic

    I've read all kinds of success on hcg diets, so I gave it a try spending nearly 1,000 for 2 month supply.
    I took due dillignt notes of everything that passed my lips. ,
    Stayed between 490-600 caloies,
    Injected my poor stomach every morning, and
    Watched the scale like it was an explosive devise. Each day I made the diet more severe as the doctor supervised clinic "accused me of being dishonest!"
    After nearly a month, I only lost 7lbs. My hair was falling out and dry, I felt chest and back pain and was very fatigued. I kept telling the diet doc that on Weight Watchers and Makers Diet I lost 4 lbs. Per week. He just argued with me.
    Well, I left the "medically supervised" weight lss clinic and have yet to see my money back. They are doctors, but if you look them up on the state licensing board, they are not nutritionists or any other kind of diet doc. They essentially have had a weekend training and sell hcg for $499.00 per month when their cost is less than $40.00!!!!!
    I returned to weight watchers, am losing MORE than hcg diet and I'm eating all the time and my hair stopped falling out! I hope this helps someone.

  • Anonymous

    I am sorry to hear you went through all that.Thank God you are doing better.I tried the HCG drops for about two weeks and stopped.I did loose about 14 pounds but honestly I don't believe it came all from the HCG.A 500 calorie a day diet would make alot of people loose weight. :)

  • roofing contractor

    I suppose all this is true that in any industry, take roofing for example. There are so many companies claiming they are roofers but never put one nail in a shingle.

  • Monty  - Waste of money possible fraud

    We ordered this diet supplement by phone over a week ago and when we called the product was charged at the time of the call but immediately put on back order without advising us. On calling we were told tough luck there are no refunds we just have to wait until it comes in. In effect we have paid over $200.00 for something that will not be available until an indeterminate amount of time.

  • Emily

    At risk of being accused of needing a doctor, I cant help but remain curious with regards to this HCG supplements as many claim a 500 calorie diet is only need due to the supposed fact that the rest of the calories are being subsidised by the stored fat, which is released by the supplement itself, Please satisfy my curiosity at that and at a greater risk crush my hopes for a miracle cure for weight loss

  • kala  - Yea....

    Just when you hear you got to stay around 500 calories, you should know, it ISNT the drops that is making you lose weight! lol
    Last year, I lost my job, and was crazzzzzy poor.... so basically, all i had each day to eat was around 500 calories worth of food... and I lost 70lbs in 3 to 4 months....
    no drops required....
    God I hope people don't actually believe this crap! lolol

  • Reader  - ?

    How did you get to the conclusion that it reduces penis size? Read the study again. Testis is not the penis. And of course the testis would reduce in size as HCG will mimic the hormones produced by the testis.

  • Jeff  - Ketosis

    I'm certainly in agreement that homeopathic HCG is a scam, however, I think the author of the above article is mistaking ketosis for ketoacidosis. Ketosis is a perfectly safe an natural form of burning fat. Ketoacidosis is a similar sounding, but different state, mostly brought on by diabetics who cannot metabolize blood sugars effeciently, therefor raising acidic levels in the blood. Sarah, I would suggest you do some research on that.

  • Sarah C. Corriher (H.W. Researcher)

    No, I meant ketosis. You would do better following the link to the source that I provided on the subject: page=2.

  • kenny

    i feel that troudeau is just another scamster and his book is iffy at best. however i feel there is validity in several things outlined in the book putting hcg and 500 cals a day aside. eating organic, candida, colon, liver cleanses, carnitine supps, etc. all are possibly good stuff i feel.

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