It’s an extreme diet, claimed to cause fast weight loss of up to 1-2 pounds per day.
What’s more, you’re not supposed to feel hungry in the process.
This article takes an objective look at the science behind the HCG diet.
In fact, this hormone is used as a marker in home pregnancy tests (1).
HCG has also been used to treat fertility issues in both men and women (2).
However, elevated blood levels of HCG may also be a symptom of several types of cancer, including placental, ovarian and testicular cancer (3).
A British doctor named Albert Simeons first proposed HCG as a weight loss tool in 1954.
His diet consisted of two main components:
- An ultra low-calorie diet of around 500 calories per day.
- The HCG hormone administered via injections.
Today, HCG products are sold in various forms, including oral drops, pellets and sprays. They are also available through countless websites and some retail stores.
Bottom Line: HCG is a hormone produced in early pregnancy. The HCG diet uses a combination of HCG and starvation-level calorie intake to achieve dramatic weight loss.
What HCG basically does is telling a woman’s body that it’s pregnant.
HCG helps maintain the production of important hormones like progesterone and estrogen, which are essential for the development of the embryo and fetus (4).
After the first three months of pregnancy, blood levels of HCG decrease.
Bottom Line: HCG is a hormone that is produced in large amounts in the first three months of pregnancy. It stimulates the production of essential pregnancy hormones.
Various theories attempt to explain the mechanism behind HCG and weight loss.