The HCG diet claims it can help you melt fat overnight, but there’s a catch…

The HCG Diet: A Whole New Level Of Crazy

Written by Russ Howe PTI, and most recently updated 1 day ago.

5 min read

The HCG diet claims it can help you lose an insane amount of body weight in as little as one week.

Furthermore, it can do it without exercise.

As you can imagine, this new weight loss craze is sweeping across social media faster than a housemaid on two scoops of pre-workout, and one quick Google search throws up countless sales pitches disguised as reviews to entice you to part with your cash in exchange for a miracle.

So today I’m going to put The HCG Diet under the microscope to see what it’s all about. Are we looking at the next big thing in fat loss, or is it (yet another) pile of bullshit which is not worth your time?

does the hcg diet help you lose weight

This is one of the silliest (and potentially most dangerous) diet plans I have ever seen.

And considering I’ve worked in the fitness industry for 22 years, that’s quite a feat!

The boffins behind the HCG diet instruct participants to eat just 500 calories per day, and also to have injections of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), which is a pregnancy hormone. They claim that the injections will greatly reduce hunger, enabling the participant to effortlessly stick to this super low calorie intake and enjoy weight loss success. They also promise that it’ll stave off any of the negative side effects typically associated with such a low calorie intake (like junk food cravings, snappy moods, and the urge to headbutt everybody who crosses your path).

Oh, and here’s the kicker…

You are forbidden from eating carbohydrates entirely, and if you slip off track you’ll be instructed to make up for your mistake by eating just six apples the next day as a punishment (yep, even though apples are 100% carbohydrates).

Now let’s science the shit out of this thing.

The HCG diet review

There are a couple of major issues which jump out of the page here.

Let’s get stuck in!

  • 500 calories per day is too low.

Make no mistake, if anyone actually loses weight on the HCG diet it’s because they are essentially starving. (8)

  • HCG is ineffective and potentially dangerous.

Despite the creators’ claims of HCG having a positive impact on weight loss, there is zero scientific evidence to support the claims being made. In fact, there’s a boat-load of evidence to show it doesn’t help with weight loss at all! (3)

A meta-analysis published way back in 1983 went as far as to say:

To make matters worse, the same study also showed that HCG has no effect on appetite suppression, fat metabolism, better fat distribution, and that it also comes with nasty side effects including irritability, fatigue, depression, pain at the injection site, and headaches. (1)

A further meta-analysis in 1995, re-confirming that it is not effective as a weight loss drug, and that it does not reduce hunger, and that it generally makes people feel quite ill. (2)

  • Listen to this horror story.

Despite all of the evidence showing this is a diet best avoided, it’s very easy to get sucked in by the promise of easy results.

The internet is awash with horror stories from people who have tried the HCG diet, but one in particular is soul-crushing. A female soccer referee who attempted it saw her health and fitness plummet to such depths that she was unable to continue working and had to switch career.

  • It’s illegal to sell HCG as a weight loss aid.

A couple of years after the aforementioned horror story made news headlines, the Federal Trade Commission tightened the laws around what could and could not be said by companies trying to hype up the supposed weight loss benefits of this drug.

Several motherfuckers were driven out of business, and it is now illegal to sell HCG for weight loss purposes due to the sheer lack of evidence supporing its effectiveness. You can find the FTC’s report here.

hcg diet review

Here you can see a typical advertisement for the HCG Diet.

It’s no wonder people get sucked in by things like this – especially if they’ve had difficulty losing weight in the past, because it sounds easy AF!

However, they make numerous fraudulent claims in this ad. Let’s break them down one by one right now.

This is an unhealthy speed to lose weight. At this rate, you’d be dead in three months.

Just don’t ask to see that proof, because it doesn’t exist.

That’s not how ANY of this works.

We’ve already established that it’s not.

Thank fuck, because on 500 calories per day you won’t have the energy.

All weight loss is natural. Something not being steroids doesn’t quantify as a plus point.

But perhaps the worst part about this ad is that they’ve even used a stock photo of a doctor, to give the reader a false impression that the HCG diet is in any way endorsed by medical professionals. Fuck these people. I hope their next poop is a hedgehog.

  1. Birmingham, C. L., et al. Human chorionic gonadotropin is of no value in the management of obesity. Can Med Assoc J (1983).
  2. Lijesen, G. K., et al. The effect of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity by means of the Simeons therapy: a criteria-based meta-analysis. Br J Clin Pharmacol (1995).
  3. Howell, S., et al. “Calories in, calories out” and macronutrient intake: the hope, hype, and science of calories. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab (2017).

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I’m Russ. I’ve been a personal trainer since 2002, and I own

My job is to simplify fitness for my readers.

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