Recent Blog Articles

By the way, doctor: What do you know about the HCG diet?

May 01, 2010

Q. I've been trying to lose weight for a long time and nothing seems to work. What do you know about the HCG diet?

A. The HCG diet is a weight-loss plan that combines daily injections of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) with severe calorie restriction — only 500 calories per day. HCG is a hormone that's released in large quantities during pregnancy and can be extracted from the urine of pregnant women. It was first promoted as a weight-loss aid in the 1950s by British physician Dr. Albert T. Simeons, who claimed that the HCG regimen caused the body to preferentially burn stored fat, especially fat from the stomach, hips, and thighs. He also said that HCG dieters would lose more fat than muscle and would not be as hungry or irritable as you might expect. In 1954, Simeons reported that he had treated 500 patients and found that those who followed the HCG weight-loss plan for 40 days lost 20 to 30 pounds without feeling weak or excessively hungry.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.