hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you’re pregnant help lose weight? Is it a good idea?

All of a sudden I am seeing and hearing everywhere about this new (actually old) hCG diet. The gist of it is you trick your body into thinking you are pregnant by injecting yourself with human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, which was first discovered in 1927. With the presense of hCG, your body (in theory) releases fat surpluses to go to the fetus (that doesn’t actually exist). Men can also use the diet. Dieters are supposed to lose 1 to 2 pounds a day on the diet.

Discovery Health wrote a comprehensive article explaining how the hCG diet works. Check out the link to read all the details. (It is several pages long.)Below is some highlights from the article to help explain this complicated diet.

How the hCG affects your body according to Discovery Health:

“We aren’t ravenous for fatty foods for no reason. Our bodies like to maximize caloric intake in case lean times are ahead. In the case of women, excess calories tend to wind up in “problem” areas such as the hips, buttocks, abdomen and thighs. However, once pregnant, fat from these areas is released in the presence of hCG, and this fat then makes its way to the fetus. This way, if a woman doesn’t consume the nutrients needed for fetal growth, her fat reserves will suffice. (Structural fat, such as that found in the face or layered beneath the entire skin, isn’t affected.)”

“HCG is produced by a woman early in her pregnancy, and levels of hCG in the bloodstream peak at around 14 weeks. After that, levels gradually decrease. HCG’s presence in a pregnant woman seems to occur in the timeframe when a woman would be least likely to know she is pregnant, and therefore least likely (especially in ancient — and leaner — times in human history) to be consciously trying to secure nutrients to sustain a pregnancy.”

How the diet works according to Discovery Health:

“Each round of treatment lasts a minimum of 26 days, and 23 of those days require a daily injection of hCG. Treatment may last as long as 43 days (with 40 injections), unless a patient loses 34 to 40 pounds (15 to 18 kilograms) before the allotted time has passed. Patients don’t receive hCG injections for the last three days of any treatment period so that it can cycle completely out of their bodies before they resume a normal diet. (It also takes about three days for hCG’s effects to “kick in.”)”

“Why stop after 40 days? (A.T.W.) Simeons noted that subjects seemed to develop immunity to hCG after 40 days and required a six-week break from the diet to fully resensitize to it. Simeons recommended no more than four total treatments, separated by breaks.”

“In addition to receiving shots, dieters are instructed to cut their daily intake of calories to 500 a day, but not until after the third shot. Once the hCG is active in a dieter’s body, its release of long-stored fat provides the body with the calories it needs to burn to get through a day (a day, it should be noted, without much exercise). As long as fat deposits are being released for use, the 500 daily calories being ingested is supposed to be enough to sustain the dieter without the crazy hunger pangs one would normally experience on a 500-calorie diet. Once a dieter drops the excess weight, the treatment must stop, because hCG only affects stored fat. Once that’s used up, the body will quickly reject a self-imposed limit of 500 total daily calories.”

What does the FDA say about it:

The FDA doesn’t approve taking hCG for anything other than to help you really get pregnant. But as long as you have a doctor willing to write you a prescription for it, you can use it.

Some health risks of using the hCG are : increased risk of blood clots, headaches, restlessness and depression. You may also feel  like you’re pregnant — swelling, breast tenderness and water retention. HCG can also cause a potentially life-threatening condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).

hCG versus the placebo:

Discovery Health reports that most independent, peer reviewed studies have found no difference in weight loss between a dieter using hCG or a placebo. One study showed both groups reported major hunger pangs, which the hCG is supposed to prevent.

So what do you think about tricking your body into thinking you are pregnant to help release fat stores? Did you notice when you were pregnant actually getting thinner? (I have actually noticed that on heavier friends. Their faces, arms and necks got thinner when they were pregnant.)

What do you think of injecting (I was told there were other methods of getting the hCG but I didn’t see that mentioned in the articles I read.) hCG into your body? Would it weird you out if you were a man?

Have you done this diet? Did it work? Would you try it?

Does this type of diet send any messages to our kids or teens? (It strikes me as similar to weight lifters using human growth hormones. Is anyone else seeing that similarity?)

– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajc.com Momania

88 comments Add your comment

[...] hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)All of a sudden I am seeing and hearing everywhere about this new (actually old) hCG diet. The gist of it is you trick your body into thinking you are pregnant by injecting yourself with human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, which was first discovered …Obese Workers in Raleigh Place Heavy Burden on CompaniesAmerican Banking Newsall 3 news articles » [...]

[...] hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Discovery Health reports that most independent, peer reviewed studies have found no difference in weight loss between a dieter using hCG or a placebo. One study showed both groups reported major hunger pangs, which the hCG is supposed to prevent. …and more » [...]

[...] Read more: Diet News:hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose … – Atlanta Jou… [...]

[...] hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Discovery Health reports that most independent, peer reviewed studies have found no difference in weight loss between a dieter using hCG or a placebo. One study showed both groups reported major hunger pangs, which the hCG is supposed to prevent. …Obese Workers in Raleigh Place Heavy Burden on CompaniesAmerican Banking Newsall 4 news articles » [...]

[...] hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Discovery Health reports that most independent, peer reviewed studies have found no difference in weight loss between a dieter using hCG or a placebo. One study showed both groups reported major hunger pangs, which the hCG is supposed to prevent. …Obese Workers in Raleigh Place Heavy Burden on CompaniesAmerican Banking Newsall 4 news articles » [...]

[...] hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Discovery Health reports that most independent, peer reviewed studies have found no difference in weight loss between a dieter using hCG or a placebo. One study showed both groups reported major hunger pangs, which the hCG is supposed to prevent. …Obese Workers in Raleigh Place Heavy Burden on CompaniesAmerican Banking Newsall 4 news articles » [...]

[...] hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Discovery Health reports that most independent, peer reviewed studies have found no difference in weight loss between a dieter using hCG or a placebo. One study showed both groups reported major hunger pangs, which the hCG is supposed to prevent. …Obese Workers in Raleigh Place Heavy Burden on CompaniesAmerican Banking Newsall 4 news articles » var AdBrite_Title_Color = '0000FF'; var AdBrite_Text_Color = '000000'; var AdBrite_Background_Color = 'FFFFFF'; var AdBrite_Border_Color = 'FFFFFF'; var AdBrite_URL_Color = '008000'; try{var AdBrite_Iframe=window.top!=window.self?2:1;var AdBrite_Referrer=document.referrer==''?document.location:document.referrer;AdBrite_Referrer=encodeURIComponent(AdBrite_Referrer);}catch(e){var AdBrite_Iframe='';var AdBrite_Referrer='';} document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,83,67,82,73,80,84));document.write(' src="http://ads.adbrite.com/mb/text_group.php?sid=1422677&zs=3436385f3630&ifr='+AdBrite_Iframe+'&ref='+AdBrite_Referrer+'" type="text/javascript">');document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,47,83,67,82,73,80,84,62)); [...]

[...] hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Discovery Health reports that most independent, peer reviewed studies have found no difference in weight loss between a dieter using hCG or a placebo. One study showed both groups reported major hunger pangs, which the hCG is supposed to prevent. …HCG Targets Abnormal Fat in NebraskaAmerican Banking Newsall 4 news articles » [...]

[...] elasticity will shrink as you reduce weight. So what is HCG and how does the HCG Diet …hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 4 news [...]

[...] course, fresh fruits like strawberries (and other berries), apples, oranges and grapefruit. …hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)HCG Targets Abnormal Fat in NebraskaAmerican Banking Newsall 8 [...]

[...] course, fresh fruits like strawberries (and other berries), apples, oranges and grapefruit. …hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)HCG Targets Abnormal Fat in NebraskaAmerican Banking Newsall 8 [...]

[...] course, fresh fruits like strawberries (and other berries), apples, oranges and grapefruit. …hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)HCG Targets Abnormal Fat in NebraskaAmerican Banking Newsall 8 [...]

[...] Everybody wants to look better. The HCG diet can help people lose weight quickly and safely. …hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)HCG Targets Abnormal Fat in NebraskaAmerican Banking Newsall 8 [...]

[...] course, fresh fruits like strawberries (and other berries), apples, oranges and grapefruit. …hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)HCG Targets Abnormal Fat in NebraskaAmerican Banking Newsall 11 [...]

[...] hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Discovery Health reports that most independent, peer reviewed studies have found no difference in weight loss between a dieter using hCG or a placebo. One study showed both groups reported major hunger pangs, which the hCG is supposed to prevent. …Healthy Living and Oregon HCG Diet Go TogetherEmailwire (press release)HCG Targets Abnormal Fat in NebraskaAmerican Banking Newsall 11 news articles » [...]

[...] hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Discovery Health reports that most independent, peer reviewed studies have found no difference in weight loss between a dieter using hCG or a placebo. One study showed both groups reported major hunger pangs, which the hCG is supposed to prevent. …Healthy Living and Oregon HCG Diet Go TogetherEmailwire (press release)HCG Targets Abnormal Fat in NebraskaAmerican Banking Newsall 11 news articles » [...]

[...] hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Once a dieter drops the excess weight, the treatment must stop, because hCG only affects stored fat. Once that's used up, the body will quickly reject a self-imposed limit of 500 total daily calories.” The FDA doesn't approve taking hCG for anything …and more » [...]

mom3boys

March 25th, 2011
6:38 am

Hey knuckleheads: you will lose weight on a 500 calorie a day diet no matter what nonsense you inject into your body!! I am surprised how many educated people I know who are stupid enough to do this!!! You didn’t gain the weight overnight; you are not going to lose it overnight. Don’t be stupid.

[...] Original Post By Google News Click Here For The Entire Article [...]

shaggy

March 25th, 2011
6:44 am

No Way Jose!
Exercise, eat a balanced diet, with reasonable sized portions-no super sizing. That is the ONLY way to maintain weight and preserve muscle mass. Period! Period! Period!
The fad diets are just playing on human weaknesses for notoriety or outright cash flow.

If you are thinking of doing this or another “innovative” diet, please send $100.00 to shaggy, PO Box 1212, My House, GA 30000.
“I, shaggy, will almost guarantee, nearly 100% satisfaction. or your money will be “donated” to shaggy’s ongoing international research efforts into plasma caloric compound nutrition.
And, guys…doing my diets, have been observed to enhance manliness and attract large breasted blond women, just like your favorite beer.”

Ajaylove

March 25th, 2011
8:04 am

How ridiculous! By the way, I am pregnant about 11 weeks, and my HCG levels are high and making me terribly nauseous and unbelievably sleepy. I will gladly sell you some for the low, low price of $99.99.

Becky

March 25th, 2011
8:10 am

I think mom3boys said it all..

@shaggy..my check to you is in the mail right now..:~)

JJ

March 25th, 2011
8:14 am

OH HELL NO!!!!!!! What a stupid concept.

THE best diet is to watch your portions, and exercise. Exercise burning more calories than you take in. All these fad diets are not good for you or your body.

Eat healthy, step away from the fast food, eat fresh as often as possible. Pack your lunch. I stop at Publix every monday morning and get stuff for a weeks worth of breakfast and lunches to keep at the office. I have bread to make toast, and yogurt every morning. I have a sandwich, a salad and fruit for lunch. then a fruit snack around 2:00 and a fresh homemade dinner around 6. I walk my dogs close to 2 miled just about every day.

Shop the perimeter of the store, don’t wander aimlessly down each aisle. All the fresh and frozen food, the healthy stuff, is in the perimeter of the store. The crap and preservatives, and sodium packed foods are all in the aisles….

NO WAY IN HELL am I going to inject something into my body to make it “Think” I’m pregnant. Stupid, Stupid, and well, stupid. Sorry, but I feel very strongly about STUPID stufff like this. I feel even worse for the people who fall for it……but hey if you want to put crap into your body, have at it. I’ll probably outlive you anyway, and you will become a burden on the health care systems, which I will end up paying for anyway.

jarvis

March 25th, 2011
8:16 am

I once had a gril trick me into thinking she was pregnant. Does that count?

jarvis

March 25th, 2011
8:17 am

Or GIRL as it was.
I have a very trusting relationship with my grill.

JJ

March 25th, 2011
8:23 am

LOL Jarvis…..my grill is in a trusting relationship with my neighbor. He does all the grilling for us every Sunday, so we just pulled the grill over to his house…

[...] posted here: hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you’re pregnant help lose … – Atlan… atlanta-journal, banking, body, both-groups, health, hunger-pangs, journal, news-articles, [...]

andy

March 25th, 2011
9:00 am

I used the product. I have not been able to lose weight in years. Lost 35 lbs. in the 40 day cycle. Since I’ve stopped, I’ve lost 10 more lbs. and have been able to maintain this weight for 6 months. I tried everything through the years, and nothing worked. I eat now more than ever, and have to force myself to MAINTAIN a not too thin weight. Go figure.

RJ

March 25th, 2011
9:11 am

Never! The best way to lose weight is to eat healthy, decrease calories eaten as nd exercise. I’ve done enough duets to knoe that in the end, you’ ve got to do what works long term. I would never inject anything in my body. Heck, I’m scared of breast implants:)!

RJ

March 25th, 2011
9:12 am

Wow! Sorry for the typos!

shaggy

March 25th, 2011
9:13 am

andy,

I have to wonder just how much you exercised and what foods you were eating when you “tried everything through the years, and nothing worked”.

Everyone – I did some deep thinking about this diet and actually came up with a group of people that, not only should try it. They should be required to use it, no matter what the consequences of putting “product” into their “productless” body. That group is the Walmart Cartie, Scooter, obesely fat and mobile rolling down the aisle people…all of them. I am pretty sure they can be observed at other businesses, however Walmart carties rule. They have taken transportation of huge loads in otherwise small vehicles to astronomical heights, and they will run you over…without the slightest flinch. Never stand in front of a cartie person in the ding-dong aisle…VERY dangerous and could result in nightmares.

It is a dangerous world and my mission is to protect.

Spacey

March 25th, 2011
9:19 am

This must be for people that are really heavy. I was a bloated, heavy mess while pregnant! I cannot imagine wanting to feel that way for any other reason than having a child.

JOD

March 25th, 2011
9:19 am

If a 1200 calorie/day diet is risky, how could less be a healthy way to lose weight? You would lose, certainly, but momof3boys is right – it’s the severe calorie restriction for sure.

I certainly didn’t notice losing weight initially (or at any time!) – nothing until about 3-4 months when my clothes started to get tight around the middle, like I’d been at Krispy Kreme every day. I could see how overweight women might lose weight initially, or any woman with bad morning sickness.

JATL

March 25th, 2011
9:28 am

This is just a bad idea! Anything advocating only 500 calories per day is awful, and hormone injections? NO! It’s calories in vs. calories burned. Build muscle, eat high protein ans get carbs from whole grains, fruits and eat veggies. Stay away from sweets and white flour!

motherjanegoose

March 25th, 2011
9:42 am

Morning all. This is not something I would try but who knows? I had a colleague whose husband needed to lose weight. She was always tall and thin. They decided that he would eat exactly what she ate every day for a week. He GAINED weight that week. She stayed her trim self. Metabolism can really vary.

I am in Wyoming. The nearest Wal Mart is 150 miles. A lady at dinner last night was telling me that many, in this area of the state, have lived here their entire lives. One co-worker asked her,
“do they have roads in South Dakota like we do here…” WOW…what would they think of 285 in Atlanta?

Moving along an learning new things every day!

motherjanegoose

March 25th, 2011
9:45 am

I left Atlanta W when it was 80 degrees and drove through snow yesterday…trying to adjust.
The people here, in Wyoming, are WARM and friendly and I love meeting them.

Mattie

March 25th, 2011
10:11 am

My sister-in-law actually did this diet. It was her 60th birthday gift to herself (I was told the shots are expensive, but don’t know how much $$ she spent). She wasn’t obese, but she had gained weight around her middle over the years.

I haven’t seen her yet, since she lives across the country, but my mother and my brother tell me she looks great. I believe she lost in the area of 40 pounds, eating mostly fruit, salad and lean protein. No alcohol is allowed on the diet. She did tell me she didn’t feel hungry at all while getting the shots.

I don’t need to lose weight, but if I did, I wouldn’t want to inject hormones to do so.

Denise

March 25th, 2011
10:25 am

I know several people who have been on this or similar diets. They work but two of them looked like crack heads when they finished their 23 days. (One of my friends lives out of town so I don’t know how she looks.) They said they were not hungry even eating only 500 calories a day. At Precision Weight Loss on Camp Creek Parkway, the shots are $300. They have a balanced diet plan they say but it’s still the same thing, I think, during the HCG phase…shots and 500 calories for the 23/26 days.

I went in GNC and there are HCG drops that are supposedly the same as the shots for folks like me who are afraid of shots. I was tempted to use them for about 7 days just to jump start my weight loss but I decided that I didn’t want to risk it. It doesn’t sound right to me. Plus, I don’t need to lose weight that dang fast…nor do I want to look like a crack head.

JATL

March 25th, 2011
10:57 am

@JOD -I know -when my body is pregnant all I do is CRAVE high carbs, feel carsick unless I’m basically eating cheese and bread and I packed on weight when pregnant like never before! I have to stringently watch what I eat and work out a lot, but pregnancy seemed to put my weight-gaining ability into overdrive. I felt awful both times for the entire 9 months. I’ll lose and maintain weight the old-fashioned way I guess, because I cannot see how making my body think its pregnant would benefit me in any way! And yes -if you eat a strict 500 calorie a day diet with no booze, you’re going to drop some serious weight FAST -but it’s really not healthy at all.

@Shaggy -I do agree about the Walmart cart fatties! Surely this couldn’t be any more unhealthy than their current state!

mom3boys

March 25th, 2011
11:05 am

I asked my doctor friends their opinions of this diet, and they referred me to a site called quacks.com.

catlady

March 25th, 2011
11:35 am

jarvis–will your grill give birth to little habachis?

catlady

March 25th, 2011
11:36 am

She said it was you, but it really was an old flame!

Me

March 25th, 2011
11:38 am

Is it not reasonable – and completely logical – that burning more calories than are consumed will lead to weight loss?

JJ

March 25th, 2011
11:41 am

Weight Watchers is THE BEST weight loss regime out there. They teach portion control. Nothing is forbidden. You have to keep track of your points, each food has a point value, even alcohol has a point value. They stress fresh fruits and veggies and, and serving of meat should be no larger than the size of you palm.

It’s a lifestyle change, not a diet. When you hear the word “diet” suddenly you crave candy, sugar, forbidden foods, etc. But when you adapt a healthy lifestyle, nothing is forbidden. You can eat whatever you want, within reason and moderation, and exercise, exercise, excercise.

I have a friend who doesn’t cook, and she and her husband eat out every single meal. She is now suffering for eating an unhealthy diet. She doesn’t drink milk, nor water, never has. She used to start her day off with a Coke, and then drink sweet tea all day long. She has NUMEROUS bone fractures and is not healthy at all, and she’s only 52. Her husband is 67 and is using a walker now, due to his unhealthy eating.

People who do not adapt a healthy lifestyle NOW will be a burden on our health care system in the very near future. Take care of yourself now!!!!!!

STAY AWAY FROM RESTAURANTS!!! treat yourself once in a while, but try to adapt a healthy lifestyle. It takes a little committment, but in the long run, it’s worth it.

catlady

March 25th, 2011
11:42 am

Not sure the plan would work on me. I lost weight during all 3 pregnancies, but had big babies (9-10 lbs) and could eat anything. It was great! One dr. commented that if they could keep me pregnant a few years I’d be Twiggy (remember her?) Metabolism changed, or something.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 25th, 2011
11:44 am

catlady — very witty. good job,.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

March 25th, 2011
12:05 pm

a list of questionable diets through the decades — pretty funny — i like the chemical gum that has since been listed as a cancer causing — awesome!!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-yager/hcg-the-comeback-diet-wha_b_835906.html

[...] effects associated with homeoopathic HCG drops. The HCG diet can be done safely at home. …hCG diet: Can tricking your body into thinking you're pregnant help lose …Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)HCG Diet Negates Orlando's Dependence on Processed [...]

JOD

March 25th, 2011
12:42 pm

@JATL – I feel your pain! It was weird, since I didn’t really gain that much weight until the end, when…WHAMMO! It was about 35 lbs in all, but on a shortie like me it felt more like 80! I was really fortunate not to have morning sickness (or as my friend called it – 24×7 sickness) – I can’t imagine how awful that must be. I just napped the first 2 months straight :o)

@JJ – I confess, I love regular Coke. I stopped drinking Coke Zero, but I love the real stuff (only 1-2 a day so I don’t blast off). I guess that would be 25%+ of the daily calories on this plan! I make super strong, dark sweet tea (hopefully with homegrown mint this summer!), so if I drink too much I get the shakes!

JJ

March 25th, 2011
1:03 pm

I drink cokes too. No diet drinks here, can’t stand them. I also hate low fat and fat free foods….NASTY…..

But I only drink cokes on the weekends – maybe 6 in two days…..