HCG, "Questionable" Studies, The Placebo Effect And More...

HCG, “Questionable” Studies, The Placebo Effect And More…

As recently witnessed by Elissa in this superb post, things are really heating up on the HCG feedback page over at Real-Customer-Comments.com (if you’re interested in learning about HCG and the Simeons protocol, you can read the full review of HCG here!)

Seems I’ve really irked a few folks by pointing out that ALL the documented evidence shows that HCG does not provide any benefit over that provided by a placebo. While these folks may have experienced great results on the protocol, it’s likely they are directly attributable to the Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) and not the effects of HCG.

In gently replying to one individual who insisted otherwise, I stated…

“That does not mean that new, larger scale studies on HCG will show different, more beneficial results. And we’ll be happy to revise our conclusion on HCG… but only when we have some peer-reviewed data to base that revision on. But until then, we have to rely on the only evidence we have.”

Within a day of posting that, one individual quoted this material back to me and commented…

“You have to rely on the only evidence you have? Have you read all the comments on your website? Did you notice that 99% are positive? You bash HCG in your article and almost every post has had success with HCG. Who are you to say that it doesn’t work to these people that experienced it first hand?

Have you considered doing your own tests? Or will you continue to be ignorant and except tests that should clearly be questioned?”

Uh-huh.

Let’s address this comment, starting with most obvious point…

1) Personal commentary is always anecdotal. That does not mean its worthless, of course. To draw from Elissa’s earlier post which referenced cancer surgeon/researcher/skeptic/med-blogger ORAC…

“In science- and evidence-based medicine, anecdotes are indeed the raw material from which we as medical scientists derive hypotheses, and “anecdotes” are published all the time in the medical literature. They’re called “case reports.” We do not dismiss them out of hand just because they are “anecdotes.” When appropriate, we dismiss “anecdotes” because frequently they are “testimonials” and not controlled observations or because anecdotes themselves, even when the observations are controlled, are often deceiving, which is why further study in the form of more controlled trials is always necessary before science-based medicine will accept a claim.  Anecdotes are not enough…”

And to reiterate; HCG is administered along with a Very Low Calorie Diet.  And VLCDs do work. Anyone on the Simeons / HCG protocol will likely lose weight; and not necessarily because of the HCG injections. In fact, that’s exactly what the published data indicates; that HCG does not provide any benefits above that of a placebo.

2) Can a dozen or so positive comments be considered representative of a diet protocol that was developed back in the 50’s, and has had thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands of participants? Even if these comments were not anecdotal, how could such a small number constitute real evidence, exactly?

3) The placebo effect is very real.

To address some of the specific comments directly…

4) We are not “bashing” HCG. To what motive, exactly? That’s not what we do here. Our job is to look at the existing data, compare it to the claims, and report on the results.That’s it, that’s all. All the published data is clear: HCG does not provide any benefit over a placebo. Simple. Period. If we were to provide a contrary position, what evidence would we base that on?  Tarot cards? An augury?

5) “Tests that should clearly be questioned”: Questioned why, exactly? Because they don’t conform to your specific set of beliefs? Or do you have some inside knowledge into some violation of a critical testing protocol in one of the clinical studies? As Elissa said in her post, “small and old don’t add up to ‘wrong'”. And even so, a more recent meta-analysis verified these studies with its own identical conclusion.

6) Maybe should consider doing your own tests: Why should we? It’s not our job. The onus is on those selling the HCG protocol to demonstrate to their customers that it works. After all, they are the ones making the money. And even if we did conduct such a study, why would you accept it? After all, you’re quick to dismiss all the published data I’ve already referenced.

Now I do recognize it may be hard to accept that something you are paying a lot of money for is not based on sound science. But unless you want to hand over your wallet and credit cards to anyone who makes you a promise of any sort, it’s best not to take complete leave of your senses and attack anyone who delivers a contrary message.

Especially when all he is doing is reporting on the facts and has no financial incentive to do otherwise.

Author: Paul

Paul Crane is the founder of UltimateFatBurner.com. His passions include supplements, working out, motorcycles, guitars... and of course, his German Shepherd dogs.

50 Comments

  1. elissa should do more steroids her face isnt there yet

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  2. As they also say: “the plural of anecdote is NOT data.” 😉

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  3. Nor will it ever be, I’m afraid, as I don’t do steroids – never have.

    Your point?

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  4. Fat Guy, it’s a good thing Elissa approved your comment first – I would have just deleted it. I’m simply not interested in having this blog degrade to this level.

    I’m not sure if you’re trying to be funny, or if this is your response to an argument you cannot present a valid countering opinion to.

    Whatever it is, good for you for hiding behind an anonymous moniker and e-mail address. What courage you’ve shown! What insight! What wit!

    BTW, unless you have something meaningful to add to the conversation, your next “post” will be deleted.

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  5. LOL Paul: I approved it ’cause that s**t makes me laugh.

    But back to hCG: first of all, nice post!

    I don’t know what – if anything – you’ve added to the commentary at Real-Customer-Comments.com, but it might be worth referring some of the protesters to my follow-up comment here as well, to reinforce how we look at these sorts of things here.

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  6. Hi,

    I am early in my HCG journey. I have so far found great results, as have many other people who I have talked to.

    I have tried MANY other weight loss programs, and none of them worked.

    Now I know that the studies say that the placebo works just as well as the HCG. My response to that? So what? I am losing weight & getting healthier! If it is a placebo effect, or if it really helps, I don’t care! I am getting results.

    I also know that there are clinics out there charging outrageous prices for this. I am lucky! I live in a small town, no big weight loss clinics around here. My Dr prescribed the HCG for me and that is all I have to pay for.

    I know my response doesn’t change any of the studies or some peoples opinions, but I’m a believer.

    Editor’s comments: What the placebo effect means in this case is that the HCG protocol (i.e., a very low calorie diet and intensive support from supervising technicians) works just as well with or without the HCG. In other words, it’s the diet coupled with the support that works, and the HCG makes no difference.

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  7. I was on hcg injections back in the early 70’s and on a 500 calorie a day diet. This stuff set me up for a lifelong weight problem. You do not need hcg to go on a starvation diet. Anyone that consumes 500 calories a day will loose weight. That is a no brainer folks. The hcg does nothing to make you not hungry you will gain the weight back as soon as you start eating like a normal person again.

    Losing weight is changing your lifestyle and 500 calories a day is not a lifestyle change. Out of 5 people in my family that went on this hcg ALL of US have weight issues now. I was 15 years old when I was put on this diet. I needed to lose maybe 15 pounds according to my mother a former model I was grossly overweight.

    If you want a lifetime of misery and training your body to go into starvation mode for the rest of your life, go on it. This will be the biggest mistake of your life. I did not think this would ever resurface again, I thought the medical industry would have made more progress in 40 years than reverting back to this. What a shame!!!

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  8. Has anyone actually read the protocol (Cindy)? The diet is much more than hcg and a VLCD. The combinations of foods, the duration of the VLCD and how you reintroduce carbs, starchs and sugar is what makes for success long term.

    I for one, have thought the hcg part was nonsense from the beginning but it helped my husband lose 22 pounds on his first round and hopefully another 20 this round. I personally lost 12 pounds and am very close to my ideal weight. I’m not foolish enough to believe that I can lose 10 more and stay healthy and the VLCD is not a long-term diet. How you approach food for the rest of your life is what this diet is all about, not a quick-fix and then back to stuffing yourself.

    FYI- we are using an hcg spray (and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was nothing but water!)

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  9. My daughter used HCG and has lost 27 pounds and looks great! I was on it for 6 days and the 6th night i woke up 2 or 3 times and it felt like my oxygen was totally cut off—pretty scary!! Hasn’t happened to me before, but don’t know if it was the HCG.I’ve layed around all day not feeling well, so I’ve stopped taking it. Hadn’t lost any weight in the 6 days. But like I said my daughter had great results.May try again later.

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  10. I’m a first time visitor to the site, just looking for information about this hcg craze. I am really loving the information and its presentation. Finally I feel like I’m getting the kind of unbiased fact-based info I was searching for.
    I’ll be back in the future.
    Thank you.

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  11. Cindy!!! thank goodness someone on here has some common sense…people there ARE NO SHORT CUTS! I don’t care how you ‘reintroduce’ food. There is only one rule that applies to weight loss. The law of thermodynamics. if you eat only 500 calories of ding dongs or grapefuit its all the same! a calorie is a calorie…just like a pound of fat is equal to a pound of muscle a pound is a pound. sure from a health perspective it matters but from weight loss it gose like this…
    energy in must be less than energy out to lose weight. PERIOD.
    even IF hcg helps you feel better when you only eat 500 calories it is setting you up for long term failure…even IF hcg does everything it is purported to do – when you go off the protocol your body will revert and you will gain the weight back. stop paying people to fix your problems. do it yourself. eat right, control your portions and move more. done

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  12. I have been on the HCG protocol for 2 weeks and have lost 20 lbs. I agree, a 500 VLCD intake will make anyone lose weight. For me, I believe that the HCG supresses the hunger feeling. Once I finish my 40 day protocol, I intend to maintain an 800 calorie diet until my next round. My goal – 80 lb total weight loss after two rounds.

    This is a short term fix. In the long term, a lifestyle change (including eating habits) is also required, no doubt about it.

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  13. My MD put me on twice weekly injections of Hcg along with Symlin shots three times daily before meals and Fastin every other day for energy. All of this on a 1300 calorie diet. I cannot find anything on the net that is less than daily shots for weight loss. The first week I lost 13 pounds and have gradually gained back 4 in the last two weeks. Am I waisting my money by not using the entire protocol? I asked my MD about the 500calorie diet and he told me it was dangerous. I am so confused! Any advice?

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    • DJ: If your doc has prescribed Symlin injections, then presumably you have either Type I or Type II diabetes. Although it is controllable, diabetes is nonetheless a serious disease and requires close medical supervision. If you are unhappy with your current doc, and cannot get more than dismissive answers out of him/her, I would urge you to seek a second opinion… but I would NOT advise you to “go off the reservation” and put yourself in the hands of a potentially irresponsible provider (and there are a lot of cranks in the hCG business). A 500 calorie diet for a limited amount of time is probably harmless for most healthy people… but you are (apparantly) not “most healthy people.” A very low calorie diet + blood sugar lowering meds = serious risk for hypoglycemia (see: http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/hypoglycemia/ for more information).

      There is something you need to understand about weight loss: weight loss is far less important than fat loss, and the two should never be confused. In the first week of any restricted diet, weight loss is often rapid, due to changes in total body water. For example, reduced calorie diets force your body to tap into its glycogen (stored carbohydrate) stores. Glycogen binds water, so as you burn glycogen, this water is lost. Reducing sodium also encourages water loss; and reduced food bulk invariably shaves a couple of pounds off as well. Of that 13 pounds lost, perhaps only 1/4 – 1/3 were actually fat.

      Likewise, the 4 pound regain likely reflects some rebound water retention, assuming you’re staying true to your program.

      What you need is some method of actually monitoring your body fat changes, vs. relying on the scale. The scale always bounces around a bit, even for a lean, weight-stable person like me (I tend to vary +/- 1 – 2 pounds, depending on how I’ve eaten/exercised the previous day). Ask your doc about this, or find a personal trainer who is skilled in the use of calipers to assess your progress.

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  14. I went on the HCG diet and the low calorie food plan. I need to say that I too believe the HCG part is worthless, at least for me. Some people were reporting astonishing weight loss – e.g. 20 lbs in 23 days – not me! As a matter of fact, I wondered if maybe I had gotten a bad batch of HCG, a batch of an inert substance, by mistake. Thats how undramatic it was. I lost weight, sure, but no more than if I had gone on the diet alone. This HCG is a rip off.

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  15. i lost on hcg 17 pounds in 12 days.

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  16. I’m glad I came across this site and this blog. My wife is interested in the HCG diet, but she is always slow to do the proper research. I think what I’ve done here is saved myself alot of money in the long run and I couldn’t be more happier. I agree, there is no magic pill! I’m in the military and the key to healthy living, not being skinny, is a sensible diet and consistent exercise program. As others have said, period.

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  17. My Naturopathic Dr put me on the HCG diet after trying other means like juicing and low calorie. Nothing worked. She was researching the HCG diet and when she was comfortable with what she found, I started. After going on the diet in Feb and March of this year I lost around 20#. But the inches I lost was incredible. Three of my neighbors tried the program and they all lost and have maintained. My husband wanted to try it and so we started about 2 weeks ago. He’s already lost 17# and feels great. He’s a big beer drinker and hasn’t had any alcohol this whole time. I’ve lost around another 8#. I’m sure not drinking has helped but he’s not even craving it. I knew it would be slower going for me because I don’t have much to loose this time. I know you can loose on a 500 calorie diet but my energy level is high (I’m a Fitness Inst) and I’m able to continue my workouts without fatigue. I’m cinvienced this works if your diligent and you can’t go back to eating and drinking junk like you did before. Of course your going to gain it back if you do that!

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  18. I am dismayed that so many people are going on the HCG Diet because they take the “research” the people that sell this stuff post on their website as facts. When this “works,” I would say it is a case of someone convincing themselves it’s going to work. They are probably at a point in their life when they are emotionally and physically ready to drop the weight, and the HCG is just a mental tool they use to help themselves do it. However, the extremely low calorie limit for this diet is what concerns me the most. It is not safe for most people to eat only 500 calories a day for an extended length of time.

    I’ve noticed that they people that sell HCG products are filling up the diet-related health forums with posts about how great it is, along with a link to a website where you can order it.

    I had an argument with a friend that decided to do this diet because he didn’t want to give the research that says it’s a placebo and a dangerous weight loss system any consideration. A friend of his that happens to be a nurse wanted him to do it with her and compare notes, and once she had him convinced to do it, there was no changing his mind about it. And he didn’t even have all that much weight to lose to put his health as risk by doing the HCG or any other VLC diet!

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  19. I’ve done and coached nearly 100 friends through the HCG program. We found a few differences between a VLCD alone, and following the HCG protocol.

    1) On VLCD alone weight loss slowed very quickly and stopped after about 10 days
    2) On the VLCD The person lost what the protocol calls ‘Structural’ fat and they ended up looking gaunt,
    3) on the VLCD people were lethargic and grumpy, unlike the upbeat active users of HCG,
    4) Those who did the VLCD alone had most if not all the weight come back, unlike the HCG dieters who after 6 months have kept it off, without continued food restrictions. I’ll follow up with them as time goes by, but none of them seem to be putting it back on.
    5) Those doing the VLCD alone usually went off it in a few days, while 96% who did the HCG completed at least one round.
    6) Those losing weight with the HCG lost it from those “trouble areas” that other diets – including other VLCD did not touch.
    7) The skin retracted using the HCG diet, where it did not on those who used the VLCD alone.

    The average loss in a round was 28 pounds in six weeks, and usually depended on how much the fudged on the VLCD parts. Some took the max 34 pounds off in 4 weeks.

    I will own that those who did the HCG were able to exercise more after the loss, and this probably helped them keep it off, and those that did the VLCD alone could not stay on it long enough to see long term effects.

    Several dropped heart, blood pressure and diabetes medication that they had been on for years: As in their doctor’s removed them from it because it was no longer needed…..but this too could have been a side effect of losing the weight.

    Whatever the cause, I’ve *seen* the results in myself and my friends, and even wrote a book on what we learned available on Amazon, because it really is good enough to share for those who have been unable to lose weight before. We have lots of before and after pictures, and really, that it worth a thousand words.

    I don’t expect that we will ever see true research in this field as there is no money to be made, no drug to patent, nothing. Why would anyone go through the expense? All we have are those who have done it.

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    • Thanks for posting, Tobi, although I seriously doubt that your VLCD vs. hCG trial – even assuming it was sincere – would stand up under any sort of scientific analysis. To you and other hCG marketers, “true research” means “research that validates what I believe to be true,” which is why you’re having a tough time acknowledging its existence. For the record, there’s plenty of money to be made marketing hCG. The reason it’s not being done is that the drug companies know the results would collapse under the kind of rigorous conditions that true scientific inquiry would impose.

      I took a look at your site: you guys really need an editor. When you can’t spell common words correctly or write complex sentences coherently, it casts considerable doubt on your ability to read – let alone understand – the research that’s already been done. The Flash and stock photos certainly add a veneer of professionalism, but the written content demonstrates how superficial it really is. What you’re actually promoting is a powerful placebo effect, along with “team” support/behavior modification. And – in truth – the latter is the real reason that most “diets don’t work” – when people are forced to go it alone, the probability that they’ll fail is high. I know from personal experience that changing habits is extremely difficult, which is why wholesale changes in diet/activity tend not to “stick” in the absence of strong motivation.

      FWIW, there’s an hCG clinic here in my own town, which is supervised by a naturopath. I even know a few people from my gym who’ve done the protocol. They were quite enthusiastic while on… and now, months later, you’d never even know they bothered. And this is not surprising – they did great when getting daily shots, as they were getting reinforcement, supervision and support under the guise of getting medication. And when it stopped, the pounds came right back.

      Sorry, but there are no magic interventions – in the end, it still comes down to lifestyle.

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  20. Elissa, you beat me to the punch; I was going to point out some of the glaring inconsistencies with Tobi’s comments. One of the most humorous was…

    “I don’t expect that we will ever see true research in this field as there is no money to be made…”

    On the contrary, Tobi, YOU are making money with hCG. And there have ALREADY been studies performed on the hCG protocol. As you know, they all report it does not outperform a placebo. I guess what “true research” means to you is “research that supports a conclusion in alignment with your beliefs.”

    All other research – obviously – is flawed and doesn’t apply.

    It never fails to amaze me that the very obvious conflict of interest never seems to enter the equation; when the people who are making money from the hCG protocol perform the tests on the effectiveness of the protocol, the results are fantastic.

    Gasp! What a surprise!

    But when unbiased scientists do, they find nothing.

    And Tobi; writing a promotional book or soliciting testimonials from your clients is not evidence. If you had the slightest idea what real scientific evidence is, you’d be too embarrassed to make such a statement.

    That alone speaks volumes.

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    • For what it’s worth, Paul, I imagine there would also be money in it for Big Pharma – patent or no. There are a fair number of drugs on the market today that are not patented (let’s start with aspirin, lol) that nonetheless contribute to the drug companies’ bottom lines. And – speaking of aspirin – plenty of recent research has been done on it, too, for the prevention of heart attacks/strokes – despite the fact that there’s “no money” to be made from it. Research that’s in the public interest does get done in the absence of pharmaceutical $$$ on a regular basis, and a good thing too, or my career at UC would have ended well before it began, lol.

      It’s a trivial point, perhaps, but the ol’ “if it can’t be patented, no one will do any research” claim is a common, and increasingly tiresome trope. Time to to cut it off at the knees. There’s a ton of obesity research going on right now (no pun intended) and the public health powers-that-be are desperate for solutions. If anyone in the field really felt the stuff was better than a placebo, NIH grant proposals would be getting written, and studies would be getting done.

      And that – in a nutshell – is the problem. What purveyors of popular, unproven treatment methods never quite seem to grasp, is that placebos often work. This is why double-blind, placebo-controlled experiments are done to separate the “real” effects from those achieved by subject expectations. When a drug or treatment fails such a test, it’s not because none of the subjects experienced a benefit… it’s because there were no benefits above and beyond what the placebo group experienced, on average. Homeopathy is the prime example of how this plays out in the real world. Some people feel they’ve been helped by homeopathic treatments, when in reality, they were helped by their belief in the treatment vs. the treatment itself.

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  21. Clearly I was misunderstood. To date, I’ve not made any money on anything related to HCG, though I have recently published a book on what my friends and I found as we tried the protocol. The people I’ve coached, I’ve done so for free. Also, the items I pointed out were observations by those who had done it, not the results of scientific research, nor did I intend it to come across as anything else. Simply what a group of people found to be true for them.

    I also clearly mistook this as an unbiased forum. Jumping to the conclusion that I’m offering up ‘research’ and then ridiculing how the research is done, is, well, hardly unbiased.

    There *is* a ton of obesity research being done right now, having just concluded a three year position at a major pharmaceutical company I’m aware of some of it. But they are doing research for new ways to provide drugs, not promoting existing drugs or therapies. The studies that I’ve read that show HCG to have no effect had flaws, and I don’t think we have the details of the original research to determine if it had flaws…..in short, we are all shouting at the dark.

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    • Tobi – whether your business is currently running in the black or not is a non-issue: you are certainly marketing a product and are clearly attempting to make money on it. Your site also presents hCG as a scientifically-validated approach to weight loss, when it clearly is not. You’re the one who posted the link – so it’s just as much a part of the debate as the actual words you wrote here. So trust me, you have not been “misunderstood.”

      Unfortunately, you appear to be unclear on the meaning of “unbiased.” It does not mean “uncritically accept whatever I write as the truth.” Sure, Paul and I have our opinions, but when solid, reliable evidence is put on the table, we’re more than happy to change them. But I have yet to see any good evidence for hCG. And the arguments from promoters in favor of hCG have holes in them that you could drive a Hummer through… we would be failing in our responsibilities to our visitors if we didn’t point this out.

      This is – first and foremost – a consumer advocacy site. When you make public statements – as on your website – that you have a scientifically-validated “cure” for obesity that works for “everyone, everytime,” you are making far more than an observation about what you and your friends found. When you unequivocally state that the protocol heals a “damaged organ and endocrine system” you making a scientific claim – as organ and endocrine system damage is something that is readily definable and measurable; as is “healing.”

      Sorry hon, but you cannot have it both ways: either you have good science to back up the medical/scientific claims on your website or you do not. When you push outrageous, unsupported claims in a consumer-oriented forum, don’t pretend to be shocked and dismayed when you’re called to account for them.

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  22. My own opinion is that HCG does indeed work but I am doing the protocol under supervision of a licensed physician. Its true you can also lose weight going the VLCD without HCG but the problem is that you will get food cravings, for those of use in the developed world where food is plentiful its very difficult to stay on VLCD. The HCG is definitely having an effect on my hunger, its easier to resist food binging while on it. I am making much smarter choices too, and things like salad and grilled chicken is satisfying me, whereas without the injections I would be craving high carb and high fat food like burgers and pizza.

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  23. I know lots of people who have lost weight with hCG, and one that gained it back. The one that gained it back didn’t change her eating habits. HCG is a jumping off point to resetting your lifestyle, and those that don’t, just like ANY GOOD DIET OR EATING PLAN, will go back to exactly how they were. As long as we are getting people to realize that we really don’t need 2000 calories a day, and that vegetables are surprisingly very filling, then why ridicule? Do I think its sad that we have to resort to “fad” diets? Yes, I do. But its our culture and its only now dawning on people that eating at McDonald’s is NOT okay, they were raised to think that it was. I’m not for or against this, but if someone who seriously needs to lose weight can lose a good chunk of it in 21 days, that is very encouraging for them, and they don’t have to resort to surgery (lap band) which, is pretty horrific, but FDA-approved.

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  24. I’m considering the HCG diet and wondered if there is a difference between the injection shots and just using the drops? This isn’t a questions on if HCG works or not. Just wondered on the difference of the two methods?

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    • Well, let’s put it this way… the only studies that exist use the shots. There is NO data that I know of on any other methods of administration.

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  25. So would the drops still be the same as the shots as far as doseage and metabolised?

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    • As I noted, there’s no data… however, I think it’s highly unlikely. Injections go directly into your system, whereas sublingual and oral administration would likely be incomplete (at best).

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  26. There are a lot of “homeopathic” hCG products sold online… these are definitely not the real McCoy.

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  27. So are the doctors the only ones to have the real hCG or are there suggested websites to order from?

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    • If you’re living in or near any mid-sized/larger city, an hCG clinic shouldn’t be hard to find. For example, I live in a city with a population around 50,000 people, and there are two such clinics within 2 miles of my house. Some hCG clinics are run (or at least supervised) by physicians; others by naturopaths.

      If you intend to go this route, I’d advise you to NOT try to do this solo. The hCG protocol involves more than just taking hCG… there is also a strict, very low calorie diet regime that goes along with it. Some supervision and support is important.

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  28. Thank you for your advice.

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  29. I’m a nationally known consumer advocate and in the process of looking for the right diet I have scoured the blogosphere to get empiracle data on the HCG diet. I’ve chosen the HCG diet because overwhelmingly the empiracle and anecdotal data is that your appetite is lower and you burn fat faster on this diet. I only have 10 pounds to lose, but my family suffers from morbid obesity. It’s impossible for me to believe that folks have had such huge success on this diet if at least some of the claims weren’t true. I also am a lobbyist/advocate for airline passengers and I am skeptical when I see studies that appear to find no benefit at all, when the empiracle data belies those studies so consistently.

    If I lose weight on this diet it will be a miracle because I’m a rigorous portion control and carbohydrate and triglyceride elimination freak. I exercise and when I hit menopause I just gained 10 pounds that won’t come off. Also I’ve been doing the HCG 500 calorie a day diet for 3 weeks and haven’t lost a pound. So by adding the HCG on Tuesday we’ll see if it really burns fat or not.

    Kate

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  30. And PS, I’m not someone that needs anyone watching me diet or any support…this truly will be a testament as to teh efficacy of the HCG because the only thing I’m adding is the HCG to my current regimen.

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  31. Kate, you scoured the “blogosphere” for your empirical data? You’re kidding, right?

    Testimonials are notoriously unreliable to begin with and even more so online. Many are highly suspect and unlikely to be genuine. Sites that post them often have a financial conflict of interest and “cherry pick” the results they post to demonstrate an artificially positive view.

    hCG providers can solicit positive testimonials, or for pennies per post, hire hundreds of people from services like Amazon Turk or Microworkers to leave positive comments on forums or blogs. This is done all the time.

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  32. So Paul and Elissa are you doctors? There are negative studies about everything. Phen Phen was supposed to be great but found out it wasn’t. The adkins diet was supposed to be safe but the founder of that diet DIED on his own diet…hmmm insteresting. Like someone else said this is supposed to be a unbiased blog. I have done the HCG diet and the 500 calorie diet and have lost 35lbs in 40 days. If you are so big on studies and “research” why don’t you research what HCG does. EVEN when it is NATURALLY present in a pregnant woman’s body.

    HCG releases 1400 to 4000 calories PER day. That is why the 500 calorie diet is safe.

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    • No, we’re not doctors… which is why we defer to them on stuff like this.

      But here’s an obesity researcher on the subject:
      http://blogs.plos.org/obesitypanacea/2010/09/01/human-chorionic-gonadotropin-hcg-for-fat-loss-fallacy-and-hazard/

      And here’s the American Society of Bariatric Physicians:
      http://www.asbp.org/resources/uploads/files/HCG%20Position%20Statement.pdf

      Even docs writing on the Huffington Post don’t seem to care for it:
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-katz-md/hcg-diet-for-weight-loss_b_809660.html

      Shall I go on?

      “Unbiased” does not mean that we’re required to assume that all claims are equally valid – that’s the same kind of argument that creationists use.

      I’ll say it again, and again and again… however many times I have to: the burden of proof lies with those making claims. And there is precisely ZERO proof that HCG releases 1400 – 4000 calories a day.

      While I may not be an MD, I sure as hell know how research and scientific publishing works (feel free to look me up in PubMed). Doctors who advocate this therapy have had plenty of time to make systematic measurements, submit case reports, and otherwise promote the acceptance of this therapy among their colleagues… and they’ve done nada. Until they do, the “unbiased” thing to do is to pay attention to the existing evidence, and those who are experts in this and related fields.

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  33. Hi there, after reading all the comments and questions I am wondering, I had gastric bypass 3 years ago, i have gained 12 lbs back and I am having a hard time getting it off. Can I safely take hcg? and do you think my bariatric dr. would give me injectios to get me started again with the weight loss? I give myself b12 injectios once a month.

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    • @Rosalie: According to the prescribing literature for prescription HCG (Pregnyl, etc.) there are a few, random contraindications (“precocious puberty, prostatic carcinoma or other androgen-dependent neoplasm, prior allergic reaction to HCG”), although these likely don’t apply to your situation. Nonetheless, nutritional deficiencies can follow bariatric surgery ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2784422/?tool=pubmed ) and – if present – could be made worse by a highly restricted diet (which is part of the HCG program… if it “works” at all, it does NOT work in a vacuum). As such, it would be important for you to consult your doctor, beforehand.

      Unfortunately, I can’t answer for your bariatric doctor… while some physicians do offer this service, the majority of docs do not approve of the “off label” use of HCG for weight loss (it is not approved for use as a drug for this purpose). For example, the American Society of Bariatric Physicians has taken the position that the use of HCG is “not recommended” ( http://www.asbp.org/resources/uploads/files/HCG%20Position%20Statement.pdf ). You’ll have to ask him/her about this.

      Genuine HCG is a prescription drug – to acquire it legally, you will need to have a doctor prescribe/administer it.

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  34. one more question. where can I buy the genuin real HCG?

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  35. In early February I started seeing a new naturopathic to help me find out why I was losing my hair. I am clinically recognized as morbidly obese but prior to seeing this new NP I had been doing the D’Adamo eating plan and had lost nearly 40 pounds over the summer. My lifestyle changes were in play and I was feeling good, but the hair loss was really bumming me out.
    Anyway, I came to her for that and she order blood work, it was detected that I’m in two categories for why this is happening. One, hypothyroidism and the other is detectable hormonal imbalance.
    The day I went into the office for the results, she all but skimmed through them and then pushed a stapled stack of papers towards me. The HCG plan.
    Being overweight for nearly 10 years now, I’ve grown accustomed to all doctors treating me like a less than human because of the weight (one major incentive for losing it) and I was really disappointed that this was what she was doing, given that she already knew I was following D’Adamo on my own and with success.
    I went home that night and scanned through the copy she gave me. She was so convincing (they always are) and given my disposition of desperation to lose weight I ignored the little voice inside my head saying “weight loss scam heading straight for you big fat head”. So the next day I called, as she instructed, and signed up to do it. My first injection was on February 28th and to date I have loss 14 lbs. There was one condition though when I started this with her, I said I would not do a 500 calories diet so we agreed 800 calories. She must have liked this idea because she has since structured her modified version of HCG to be on a 800 calorie for all her patients. I should note that I am one of two that are her first patients to be on this. I have a few complaints about my experience with this women, like her almost giving me the wrong injection and I spotted it due to the color of the liquid be different, but mostly I started feeling that inner voice getting louder saying I was being taken as a sucker.
    I started thinking there is something very strange and sad about injecting one’s self with a pregnant woman’s urine. What does this say about me? I know what it says about the person in me so desperate to not be overweight, but what does it say about the rational me? So, I started really thinking about what I was doing. I’ve decided to take back my control from doctors, weight loss plans and society as a whole telling me I can’t do this without them. Maybe HCG has done something for me, but it’s not what it is being marketed for. I called my NP yesterday and told her I wouldn’t be coming in as I started my monthly (you can’t take HCG when on your monthly). She argued with me and said it would be hard without HCG. After that conversation I knew I would never go back on. I do believe it is entirely a placebo effect.
    There are so many things to be disgusted about with HCG, but the number one for me is that the people pushing it want to convince people they can’t loss weight without it. I will be coming back to this site and letting you know my success, because I will have it and it won’t be from HCG.

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    • Hi Meggie:

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Quite honestly, it sounds like you need a new doc! Your current naturopath sounds less than professional – which is the kindest way to put it.

      If you’re hypothyroid, this is something that should be treated directly. Mary Shomon maintains a list of “top” thyroid docs here: http://www.thyroid-info.com/topdrs/index.htm Getting this fixed will remove a significant barrier to continued weight loss success. Kelly Bliss also maintains a list of “size-friendly” doctors here: http://www.plussizeyellowpages.com/health_pros.html – there is absolutely zero reason why you should have to put up with being treated as less than human.

      We’d love to get updates on your progress. It sounds like you have the discipline and determination to succeed. While I’m not big on D’Adamo from a scientific perspective, his diet plans are based on whole/minimally-processed foods… which is the way to go for overall health and wellness (not just weight loss).

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  36. What is so sad is that these people who are doing this anorexic level of eating, are claiming they are getting healthy. There is nothing healthy about eating this little. I am a Herbalist, Homeopath and Nutritionist and I have worked in a weightless centre. Those who were not loosing weight either had an underlying medical condition preventing weightless, or they were plain cheating and lying to me about their foods and lying to themselves. If you cheat constantly, you aren’t going to lose weight. If you eat out everyday, you are going to have trouble and that is what the majority of people do.
    I laugh at the idea that this hormone can cause the body to use fat from certain areas. That is impressive since you can’t spot train muscle that a hormone can target certain fat. Funny, I have had three children. That is three pregnancies people. I gained weight everywhere and was hungry all the time. I didn’t lose weight anywhere, I was hungry all the time, no appetite suppressant there.
    I was told recently, by someone I respected, now I am a little unsure since they seem to be believing this crap, that it targets the fat on the inner thighs, under arms near the breast, etc., not the fat on the belly. Sorry, since belly fat is the worst because it mixes in and around the organs which can lead to cancers, why would you joy want to use that fat up? Plus, if it targets inner thigh, awesome, I can’t spot train my inner thigh, where I want to work, so I just have to starve myself and take an illegal substance. Do the searches, this stuff is illegal and those who do steroids use it to prevent female qualities. If it is illegal fit them, how is is legal for someone who wants to lose weight.
    I have recently lost weight. Guess how. I cut out pop, drink water all day with lemon juice, eat healthy, eat until I am satisfied, not till I am exploding and am working out. Good old fashion healthy living and surprise, I have lost 12 lbs so far. A healthy weight. I am not losing 1 lb or more a week, which is totally unhealthy, but properly. And when I notice I have gotten stuck, guess why. I was cheating.
    People need to be healthy and starving yourself and putting a hormone in you that is found in pregnant women, that is used for fertility and to boost a boys testosterone, is not healthy for everyone. Too bad they are going to find that out after they have lost weight, gained it back and probably developed major Heath issues later in life.

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  37. I wish people would learn that lose – to have something taken away – as in lose weight – is not spelled loose. Loose is when something is not fitting closely.

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  38. This is dead but I just have to say…

    “The adkins diet was supposed to be safe but the founder of that diet DIED on his own diet…hmmm insteresting.”

    Dr. Atkins did have cardiomyopathy but his physician said his heart had no blockages and it is most likely that his disease was caused by a virus. He DIED at 72 when he FELL ON ICE AND HIT HIS HEAD. Oh and by the way, Tobi, the same thing that happens to your body on Atkins happens on Dr Simeon’s protocol… hmmmm!

    Also, I have done the HCG diet and it was fine, a little lackluster, but okay… but it’s the diet… it has nothing to do with the hcg. It’s the placebo effect along with going into ketosis because of so little carbs/calories in general. That explains the lack of hunger. It also explains why, when people aren’t losing, they’re advised to cut the melba and fruit. I DO think people lose weight/actual fat on the hcg protocol diet but I DON’T think it has anything to do with the hcg itself.

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  39. Not a single study indicates HCG has any benefit for weight loss (unless you are on a 500 calorie crash diet + HCG). On the other hand, let me tell you about the placebo effect…According to a study published in Psychological Science in 2007 Hotel-room attendants who were told they were getting a good workout at their jobs showed a significant decrease in weight, blood pressure and body fat after only four weeks.

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  40. By the way, on that same study published in Psychological Science in 2007, employees who did the same work but weren’t told about exercise showed no change in weight. Neither group reported changes in physical activity or diet. Cheers!

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