HCG diet

The HCG diet is a dangerous weight loss diet. It has extremely low calories and additionally there are supplements of HCG injection. HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin. What has FDA said about this diet? What is the risk?

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HCG diet

The HCG diet is a diet plan for weight loss. In this, there is extremely low intake of calories. And along with this, the dieter gets injections of HCG or human chorionic gonadotropin hormone.

The hormone is present in high quantities in the blood of women in early pregnancy. The detection of this hormone in urine confirms pregnancy diagnosis. This hormone has therapeutic uses in infertility in both men and women. But its pathological elevation marks cancer growth such as of the gonads, ovaries, placenta and testis.

HCG diet
The dangerous diet of HCG (Source: Dr. Axe)

It was in 1954 that British doctor, Albert Simeons proposed that the hormone can be put to use to shed weight. He developed this diet of ultra low calories restricted to 500 in a day and HCG injections. HCG is also available as oral drops, sprays and pellets. But the FDA has labeled this diet as illegal and dangerous.

Mechanism of action of the hormone

This hormone is a protein and induces production of progesterone hormone in a pregnant lady for the well being of the uterus and growing fetus. The levels drop after 3 months of pregnancy.

Advocates of the diet state that the hormone injection can boost metabolism and this can assist weight loss. It removes body fats and you do not feel hungry. There are claims that a person can lose with this diet around 1 to 2 pounds of weight per day.

HCG diet
The dangerous diet of low calories and HCG injection (Source: US news health)

Also, there are claims that it leads to anabolism and only fat loss but there is no muscle mass. However, studies did not confirm this. Also, numerous studies on this diet have reached the conclusion that the low calories diet causes the weight drop and it is not due to the hormone injection. Moreover, people on the injection still felt hungry.

The diet has three stages:

Loading phase-out with HCG and lots of fats and high calories foods. Lasts for two days.

Weight loss phase: with HCG and only 500 calories of food in a day for 3 to 6 weeks. Only two meals a day (lunch and dinner)

Maintenance phase- No HCG. Increase foods and calories intake with no sugar or starch for three weeks.

One can repeat these cycles several times. Each meal should have lean protein, vegetables, a slice of bread and a serving of fruit. Water, tea and coffee ad lib. But there can be no butter or oils or sugar.

Also, read What is the Ikaria diet? Foods and meal details, secret of longevity!


This diet is not recommended for weight loss. It might cause short term weight loss but in the long term the weight would return. Also, with such a restriction of calories and foods, other nutritional deficiencies might crop up.

HCG diet
The HCG diet (Source: Very well fit)

The diet leads to muscle mass too and this is not healthy in the long run. The diet lacks any sort of scientific backing to it.