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hCG Diet Controversy on Dr. Oz

Human chorionic gonadotrophin is a hormone that’s naturally present in the body during pregnancy. Advocates of the hCG diet claim that daily administration of hCG is a safe way to suppress hunger and, thus, lose weight. According to Dr. Oz, “after 50 years of research, there is still no proven medical reason why hCG will keep you from getting hungry.” That’s right, after 50 years, it’s not yet been proven to work and yet thousands of people claim to see dramatic results from it- as much as one to two pounds of weight loss per day! On the flip side, skeptics of the diet warn of serious side effects. Is hCG a weight loss miracle, or is it just too dangerous to try? Dr. Oz digs deep to find the truth.

To begin, Dr. Oz spoke with a practitioner, Dr. Sheri Emma, who offers a six week hCG diet program to her patients. It costs approximately $800 and consists of daily hCG injections and a strict 500 calorie diet. Dr. Emma tried to explain that the hCG diet’s 500 calorie limits are not dangerous because the dieter receives any extra energy from stored body fat. At which point, Dr. Oz admitted that most of us do have “tens of thousands of calories just on hips alone” However, registered dietitian Keri Gans argued that stored fat does not contain the proper amount of vitamins and minerals that the body needs each day. Way to go Keri- I think that’s a very valid point and Dr. Oz seemed to think so, too!

In regards to the homeopathic droplets, Gary Arbuckle, a seller of hCG drops, claims that he lost 35 pounds in a matter of 40 days. The biggest contradiction here is that hCG drops do not require a prescription because they only contain trace amounts of hCG. Could this be a placebo effect?

Placebo effect or not, the testimonies weren’t enough to convince me. Just as many people have spoken up against the hCG diet and rattled off a list of side effects. Among them are: lethargy, headaches, dizziness, loss of consciousness, loss of period, nausea, hair loss, mood swings and more. There are also some suggestions that hCG could cause or exacerbate cancer. Furthermore, Dr. Pieter Cohen claimed that the CDC found a connection between sudden cardiac deaths and extremely low calorie diets. That’s a frightening summary of side effects and I, for one, can’t imagine all of that being worth the quick fix of losing a pound a day. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned exercise?

In conclusion, there just isn’t enough information to prove the relevance and safety of hCG for weight loss. Dr. Oz offered his personal advice: “There’s no proof, that I can tell, that the hCG injections that have been used in the past have worked for weight loss but I’m seeing a lot of reasons to reevaluate, intriguing reasons to reevaluate that… we might find new ways to help millions of people who do not have another solution find an option and for that reason I think it’s worth investigating.” Regardless of his opinion that the hCG diet warrants further study, and not abandonment, Dr. Oz warns:

  • Do not buy hCG supplements. The no-shot method may seem attractive, but they are a waste of money. In fact, they contain little to no hCG.
  • Do not restrict yourself to less than 1,200 calories a day without the supervision of a doctor.
  • More studies must be done.

I respect Dr. Oz’s opinion and I recognize the relevance of it. More studies would provide us with a better understanding of the positive effects that some people are experiencing. Personally though, I would never go on this diet. 500 calories a day is just not enough.

February 23rd, 2011

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(Page 1 of 1, 9 total comments)


ALL I know is my daughter age 25 was on this diet and committed suicide with very little warning.
Has anyone else felt like that on HCG Diet or died..

posted Jul 7th, 2011 3:51 pm


What is the extra fat for? Why does your body store it? if it's not there to sustain you in times of Very Low Calorie intake, what is it's function? I have been on the HCG for 2 weeks now and Like other people who have had success so have I.
I wasn't an over eater before this diet but for what ever reason my body would not let go of the extra. I swim, cycle and walk at least one of those daily for an hour. No success. I'm about 100 pounds over weight. Diet and exercise have never worked for me. This was the last attempt before surgery. I'm glad I did this first.
I'm a healthy eater & that combined with working out didn't work. Placebo or not I don't HUNGER or CRAVE.I don't feel weak or starved. The "small" amount of food is really not that small just low calorie. Tons of leafy greens and the recommended playing card size of lean protein and Tons of water. Think about it 10oz(284g) of raw spinach only has 65 calories. Your still getting Calcium, iron, vitas: A&C.
This may not be for everyone and it sounds risky but not anymore risk then cutting open my body removing part of stomach and being on a liquid diet for months after.

posted Apr 22nd, 2011 9:31 pm


Okay, normally I never take part in these discussions but in defense of the HCG diet I must. I lost 40 lbs on this diet in 40 days. I've tried other diets and was always hungry which led to my failure to complete them. Not only had I lost the weight on HCG but my cholesterol which was in the 400 range dropped down to 180 which is in the normal range. I felt better than ever while on the diet and was not hungry while on it. The previous attempts using approved methods of dieting, in the 1100-1200 cal. range, I could not do, I was constantly hungry all the time and thought about food 24/7. All I can say is it works.

posted Mar 17th, 2011 10:10 pm


Hi Michael! It was Jim Karas, author of the 7 Day Energy Surge.

posted Feb 24th, 2011 11:27 am


I am bothered that Dr. Oz did not take a stand against a 500 kcal diet. That is neither healthy nor supported by scientific evidence. I am also amazed that a licensed physician would advocate that you can get sufficient calorie support from fat cells. That also is counter to scientific evidence. I have referenced the experts at the Mayo Clinic on my website Their nutritional experts will validate that there is little scientific evidence that HCG is the reason for the weight loss.

posted Feb 23rd, 2011 8:18 pm

michael branon

on your 2/23/11 show u had a dr./publisher. i did not get his name nor the book title however, the book was about losing weight with herbs 7 steps. will u send me the name of the book and it's publisher :)

posted Feb 23rd, 2011 5:24 pm


Remove everything else and the reason you lose weight is because you're eating 500 calories per day. That's not enough to sustain proper brain function.

posted Feb 23rd, 2011 2:01 pm


Is HCG safe?

posted Feb 23rd, 2011 1:32 pm

Kelly Turner

This is kind of disappointing to me. I thought Dr. Oz would be more on top of advocating healthful weight loss. Why does no one ever seem to realize that if you drop your calories to 500- THAT'S why you are losing weight? The hcg is unnecessary

posted Feb 23rd, 2011 1:04 pm


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