The HCG Weight Loss Diet Scam – The New Snake Oil?

Clark Stanleys Snake OilThe HCG diet is another diet that follows in a growing trend of diets weight loss designed to help manage blood sugar levels and appetite.

HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. You can see why most people prefer the call it the HCG weight loss diet. Basically it is a complete hormone produced during pregnancy which is made by the developing embryo. So, what does this have to do with a weight loss diet?

“hCG is ineffective in dieting and should not be used” (Rabe et al, 1987)

The idea of the HCG diet was developed by Dr. A.T.W. Simeons in 1971 and detailed in his book Pounds & Inches: A New Approach To Obesity. It seems a little depressing to think that a “new” approach to obesity was written almost 40 years ago, and they the obesity epidemic rages on. However, this so called diet is not one that we recommend anyone follows, and it seems that in the 1970’s most health professionals were quick to ignore it also.

Dr. Simeons was studying the role of HCG in the development of babies when he noticed that one of the effects of HCG when administered was:

“When such patients (overweight boys) were given small daily doses they seemed to lose their ravenous appetite though they neither gained nor lost weight. Strangely enough however, their shape did change. Though they were not restricted in diet, there was a distinct decrease in the circumference of their hips.”

As a result of this observation Dr. Simeons decided to pursue this line of research as a way to help people manage their appetite and reduce weight. His studies led him to the conclusion that the hormone actually helps to relocated fat, he called it “fat on the move”. This fat on the move is not just a way to remove fat but also it is to be used as a form of energy, to replace food. You literally start using your body fat for energy when you have HCG treatment.

“I found that as long as such patients were given small daily doses of HCG they could comfortably go about their usual occupations on a diet of only 500 Calories daily and lose an average of about one pound per day.”

The problem for people who wish to lose weight is simple though – HCG is only ever found in the body of a pregnant woman. Dr. Simeons made a very clear warning to anyone looking to lose weight:

Dr. Simeons Warning About Using HCG For Weight Loss

“I must warn the lay reader that what follows is mainly for the treating physician and most certainly not a do-it-yourself primer. Many of the expressions used mean something entirely different to a qualified doctor than that which their common use implies, and only a physician can correctly interpret the symptoms which may arise during treatment. Any patient who thinks he can reduce by taking a few “shots” and eating less is not only sure to be disappointed but may be heading for serious trouble. The benefit the patient can derive from reading this part of the book is a fuller realization of how very important it is for him to follow to the letter his physician’s instructions.”

He could not have made it any clearer really, which means that it is a real shame that so many companies are now exploiting this idea and sell HCG hormones to the layperson with nothing but a simple leaflet to guide them.

Various problems can occur which is why it is vital that any patient on this “diet” is supervised by a medical professional. Some people become immune to the HCG hormone which means that weight loss will stop. It is very dangerous to start increasing dosage in the hope that weight loss starts again as this can cause serious damage to internal organs.

Anyone undertaking the HCG weight loss plan needs to be checked daily by a doctor to ensure that they are well and that treatment can continue.

What most people are really doing is just the 500 Calorie Diet, that will still aid weight loss. We can share this here. However, this is not a good way to lose weight.

Dr. Simeons 500 Calorie Weight Loss Diet

Since this diet plan was devised by Dr. Simeons later research has shown that it is better to consumer smaller, more frequent meals, when trying to lose weight. This plan sticks with the more traditional 3 meals a day method.


  • Tea or coffee in any quantity without sugar. Only one tablespoonful of milk allowed in 24 hours. Saccharin or Stevia may be used.


  • 100 grams of veal, beef, chicken breast, fresh white fish, lobster, crab, or shrimp. All visible fat must be carefully removed before cooking, and the meat must be weighed raw. It must be boiled or grilled without additional fat. Salmon, eel, tuna, herring, dried or pickled fish are not allowed. The chicken breast must be removed from the bird.
  • One type of vegetable only to be chosen from the following: spinach, chard, chicory, beet-greens, green salad, tomatoes, celery, fennel, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, asparagus, cabbage.
  • One bread stick (grissino) or one Melba toast.
  • One fruit: An apple, orange, or a handful of strawberries or one-half grapefruit.

Dinner :

  • The same four choices as lunch (above.)

So this is simply a very strict calorie controlled diet. The idea is that anyone on the HCG program will not feel hungry enough to eat more than this. If you are not taking the medicine then you will no doubt feel very hungry on this diet.

Criticisms of the HCG Diet

The first and most crucial criticism of the HCG diet is simply that you have to be under medical supervision to follow this diet and this is not a diet that is covered by many health services. Other important criticisms:

  • HCG has been banned by the athletic community because of its enhancement effect on muscle growth and risk to ill health
  • No scientific study has shown that HCG actually aids weight loss in the way Simeons states – the weight loss may just be down to a calorie controlled diet that is low in sugar and processed foods (i.e. a caveman diet or low GI diet).
  • The only way you can buy HCG is online and often what you are sold in HOMEOPATHIC HCG, What this means is that there is nothing in the medicine, and you are paying a lot of money for a sugar pill and a 500 calorie a day diet.
  • A 500 calorie a day diet will lead to malnutrition, muscle deterioration and lethargy. You will waste away, not get slimmer and more toned.
  • The 500 Calories Diet does not allow oily fish or healthy fats which are both essential to health and weight management.
  • The moment you end this diet plan you will revert back to your old bad habits and put all the weight back on again.

Really this is a case of how the Internet can so easily provide bad advice on diet and weight loss. There is a huge amount of money in selling people sugar pills and diet plans that serve no function other than to starve a person. Although governments are attempting to regulate the industry more it seems to be an uphill task. If you want to lose weight fast then follow a tried and test Weight Loss Diet and Exercise Plan.

FDA – HCG Diet Products Are Illegal

On December 6th, 2011, the FDA declared HCG diet products illegal. They state the following on HCG:

  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers to steer clear of these “homeopathic” human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) weight-loss products
  • FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued seven letters to companies warning them that they are selling illegal homeopathic HCG weight-loss drugs that have not been approved by FDA, and that make unsupported claims.

Marketing of HCG products often make completely false claims, such as;

  • They reset your metabolism
  • They change “abnormal eating patterns”
  • You can lose 20-30 pounds in 30-40 days

HCG is approved by FDA as a prescription drug for the treatment of female infertility.

The diet is potentially dangerous and can lead to malnutrition and health problems such as gallstone formation, damage to muscle and nerve function, and an irregular heartbeat. These restrictive diets can be “potentially fatal” according to the FDA.

Weight management is a lifestyle choice and not a quick fix. You need to lose weight through diet and exercise and develop a personal strategy that means you manage your own weight within your own environment. The best weight loss advice anyone can give you is the advice that you should empower yourself by reading and learning about fitness, diet and weight loss.

References and Web Resources:


8 Comments on “The HCG Weight Loss Diet Scam – The New Snake Oil?”

  1. is the best site I have found yet! I ordered through them twice now, and both times they have been amazing! I got my order within three days of placing it. Since I was new to this, I had constant questions that they were happy to answer. They sell the real hCG, not homeopathic, which I’ve heard can be very dangerous, for cheap! I suggest these people to anyone and everyone that is thinking about trying the hCG Diet!

  2. MotleyHealth says:

    Hello Kristen. I assume that as your email address is [email protected] you work for them?

    Why do you think that homeopathic pills are dangerous?

  3. Homeopathic has no real hCG. There is no saying as to what people are putting in it. I have a friend that took homeopathic drops, and ended up getting VERY sick. She has hospitalized for two days because the homeopathic does not get the nutrients from your fat. Therefor, you’re eating 500 calories without getting the extra nutrients to make up for it. Some people are selling homeopathic but it only has water and appetite suppressants in it. Other places are selling animal hCG. Also, it doesn’t reset your metabolism and you end up gaining the weight back. Only true hCG keeps it off.

  4. MotleyHealth says:

    So are you suggesting that real hCG contains nutrients? Do you know what homeopathic medicine is? There is no way any form of homeopathic medicine can have any effect, beneficial or not, on a person.

    Also, what do you mean by “reset your metabolism”? Are you suggesting that once you have lost the weight and finished the treatment you become immune to weight gain and can eat whatever you like from then on?

  5. The hCG itself does not contain nutrients, it breaks up your fat and gets the nutrients that it has stored over the years. Homeopathic does not do this. Homeopathic medicine can have averse effects on a person depending on what is put into it. There are no regulations as to what chemicals and ingredients people put in it. There are people out there making this out of their kitchens. Safe? I think not.

    You are not necessarily immune to gaining weight after you are off the program, but it is harder to gain that weight. You still must watch what you eat, but if you splurge every now and then it’s not going to blow you up again.

  6. shawnelyse says:

    I fully disagree with the opinion that HCG does not work. I lost 24 pounds in 26 days. I just had my doctors appointment today and my lab work looks like it did before I had my kids. I will be taken off my cholesterol and blood pressure meds in two months and I feel great. Just because doctors can’t explain how hcg works does not mean it doesn’t work. I can’t see an atom but it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Doctors and pharmeceutical companies just want to keep their money coming in,they really don’t care about patients who want to live full happy lives. I’m now on round 2 and during my waiting period I actually lost two pounds. I didn’t gain until I loaded for my second round. HCG IS THE SHIZZIT!!!!

  7. MotleyHealth says:

    Who says that the HCG diet does not work?

    People on a “HCG diet” require careful monitoring by a doctor / medical professional. The main factor though is restricting someone to a 500 Calorie a day diet.

    It is impossible not to lose weight if you only eat 500 Calories a day.

    Taking the drugs without medical supervision does pose some serious heath risks.

    In 1987 scientists did carry out a risk-benefit analysis of the hCG-500 kcal reducing diet and concluded: “that hCG is ineffective in dieting and should not be used”.

    Basically, they concluded that following a 500 kcal diet with HCG did not result in less hunger than without HCG. The drug is seemingly a pointless expense and a risk to health. These doctors are actually saying not to order HCG, so your argument that “doctors and pharmeceutical companies just want to keep their money coming in” does not hold.

    BTW, what does shizzit mean?


    “Risk-benefit analysis of a hCG-500 kcal reducing diet (cura romana) in females.” by Rabe T, Richter S, Kiesel L, Runnebaum B.. Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 1987 May;47(5):297-307.

  8. Just for the record, the FDA has gone on the record calling hCG drops illegal and fraudulent.

    hCG drops may well be the “ultimate scam”, since when combined with a very low calorie diet, they’re likely to be every bit as effective as “the real McCoy”. Which is to say, not effective at all.

    With the exception of a single early study (the results of which were never duplicated) all the clinical data is conclusive; the hCG protocol does not outperform a placebo (in this case, a placebo consists of a very low calorie diet (VLCD), personal counseling, and saline injections).

    Advocates of the diet like to argue that hCG shots suppress the appetite, but it’s common for people on VLCDs to experience little or no hunger pangs within a few days…

    BTW, I love to see comments suggesting that some sort of medical conspiracy is suppressing the use of hCG. If you’re getting the real stuff – the prescription stuff that must be administered by injection, you’re getting it from “big pharma.” Ovidrel is made by EMD Serono (a division of Merck) and Novarel is manufactured by Ferring Pharmaceuticals.

    Not sure whether the editors will approve this, but if you’re considering the hCG protocol, I invite you to read a recent article, “The 6 Dumbest Reasons to Dismiss the Clinical Study Results and Accept hCG as a Valid Treatment for Obesity”…

    It should put things into perspective.

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