What is the HcG diet?

Amy Campbell


“HCG” stands for “human chorionic gonadotropin,” which is a hormone produced during pregnancy. HCG stimulates the production of progesterone, which supports the placenta during pregnancy. The use of HCG for weight loss dates back to the 1930s when a physician noted that overweight boys who were being treated with HCG for underdeveloped genitals lost weight. The use of HCG as a diet aid remains popular today. However, the HCG diet leads to weight loss primarily because the diet severely restricts calories to between 500 and 800 per day. Restricting calorie intake to this amount may lead to certain health problems, such as gallstones, irregular heartbeat, loss of lean muscle mass and electrolyte imbalance. Also, there is no evidence that HCG is effective as a weight-loss aid. And this past December, the FDA sent warning letters to companies that sell over-the-counter or on-line HCG in the form of drops, sprays and capsules, stating that they are in violation of federal law for selling a drug that has not been approved for weight loss. HCG is approved as a prescription drug for the treatment of female infertility and other medical conditions.