HCG – Amazing Breakthrough or Expensive Weight Loss Torture?

Inevitably, whether you’re trying to lose 10 lbs or 100 lbs, the basic equation of weight loss is calories in vs. calories out, and in that equation, the amount of calories you take in needs to be less than the amount of calories you put out on any given day. So why is “dieting” and weight loss so hard? Why are 1/3 of American adults obese and why is obesity on the verge of becoming an epidemic in today’s younger generations (some say it already is)? Of course there’s no single answer but when it comes to tackling hard problems such as weight loss, many of us can’t help but seek an easy way out. We want to lose weight and we want to lose it quickly, which is why so many diets and weight loss fads have become increasingly popular these last few years (or decades). From the Atkins diet to South Beach, LA Weightloss, Alli, Hydroxycut, Ephedra, and plenty of others, there is no shortage of programs and products that promise people quick weight loss. Though the list goes on and on, one weight loss program that seems to be catching the eyes of many is HCG.

HCG – Just Another Word Of Mouth Fad?

If you know anyone who has lost weight recently, such as a family member, friend, neighbor, or coworker, chances are good that he/she has heard of or maybe even tried the HCG program. Take Dr. Joseph Serra for instance, a dentist and successful HCG user. “I went on a trip last week and I saw a lot of people that I hadn’t seen in about a year and they looked at me and said, ‘Holy crap Joe, you lost weight!’ and I said, ‘Yes I did’ and a lot of them asked me, ‘Well, how’d you do it?’, and I told them the one thing that we found that was working was called the HCG diet.”

The phenomenon of word-of-mouth “advertising” can definitely be accredited to the HCG diet’s success, allowing it to explode into a nation-wide dieting trend, and while other diets are still around (think Atkins and South Beach), it seems that HCG has taken the world by storm. What many don’t know is that HCG was brought into the dieting world back in the 1950s, but the diet has only recently started to make headlines. As Dr. Serra proclaimed, “It worked. It worked really well. We used these pellets, we followed it and I lost about 30 pounds in 25 days.” This adds up to about a little over a one pound loss each day. These weight loss figures have dieters running to the Internet to find HCG products.

The Method And The Madness of HCG

HCG dieters take HCG supplements. HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone produced during pregnancy. As a prescribed medication, HCG is commonly used to treat infertility problems but nowadays the hormone has been morphed into a weight loss aid that can either be injected or taken in supplement form. While proponents of the HCG diet rave about how the pregnancy hormone can burn fat, redistribute it, restart the metabolism, and ultimately decrease the number on the scale, can the hormone really be the true cause of weight loss in an HCG user? What many don’t take into consideration is the fact that while takingHCG, dieters are required to eat 500-800 calories per day with a few days throughout the program where a dieter is allowed to eat a normal calorie consumption, which is said to ensure the body doesn’t become “HCG immune.”

Going back to the calories in vs. calories out equation, it’s obvious that HCG works- how couldn’t it? You’re eating almost 1/4 of your recommended daily caloric intake so obviously you’re in the calorie deficit zone. Looking at it from the outside, I’d say that HCG is nothing but a placebo and an easy way for companies, and scammers, to make money. HCG products can cost hundreds of dollars each month and while there’s no monetary value that you can place on losing the amount of weight that may be lost thanks to the diet, what about those who don’t lose a thing, and is HCG a safe long-term way to live?

Statistics and common sense say ‘No.’ Kudos to anyone who plans to live on such a low calorie diet to the end of their days, but in the end, what happens is a metabolic downgrade, which then causes the scale to stop moving downwards and in some cases the scale can slowly but surely creep back up, despite eating such low calories on a daily basis.

HCG Opponents Are Countless

Every diet is going to have its fair share of naysayers, disbelievers, and people who have tried the diet and failed. HCG is no different. While some dieters have been extremely successful using the HCG program, others fall flat and do not experience the amazing weight loss that others enjoy. Seeing, hearing, and reading about others who are successful using a specific dieting plan typically encourages others to join along, but health officials and educators alike warn dieters that HCG may not be all that it is said to be, and the opponents and challengers of the diet have been around for years.

For example, in 1995, the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published an analysis of research that proved no benefit of HCGusage in promoting weight loss. A study conducted in the same year by the Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine concluded that, “there is no scientific evidence that HCG is effective in the treatment of obesity; it does not bring about weight-loss or fat-redistribution, nor does it reduce hunger or induce a feeling of well-being.” In December 2009, a position paper published by theAmerican Society of Bariatric Physicians concluded that HCG is not a recommended weight loss aid.

While the studies are endless and many of the results are inconclusive at best, opponents discourage use of HCG for many reasons. Some say that while the drug isn’t dangerous, dieters purchasing HCG are at risk of falling prey to fraud, as the number of companies selling fake HCG products is on the rise. Though not all HCG products are scams, those that are the real deal come at a hefty price. At a popular weight loss clinic in Florida named New Beginnings, clients interested in the HCG diet plan can opt for a $495 23-day plan or a 40-day regimen for $595. These statistics beg the question of just how much people are willing to pay to drop the pounds.

Shedding Pounds – In The End It All Comes Down To You

The jury is still out on whether or not HCG is healthy and whether it’s really effective, but there is no question that it worked for Dr. Serra and thousands of other dieters out there. There is also no question about the adverse health conditions that eventually come with obesity.

While weight loss, for most people, is as simple as eating less and moving more, weight loss only occurs when internally you decide to make a change. Some people are content being overweight, others are not, and no matter how high obesity statistics are or how many stares one gets for being a bit heavier than others, weight loss takes time, effort, energy, and most importantly an internal unhappiness or some other catalyst that finally forces an individual to make weight loss a reality.

People looking to drop a few pounds also need to keep in mind that a diet is only a diet. It’s not magic. A diet only works as well as the person who is following it. As Dr. Serra explained, “You know it’s kind of funny because over the past 20-some years, I’ve been adding weight steadily, and it’s not that I want to get back down to what I looked like in high school, but the thing that really got to me was that I went to the doctor and I had high blood pressure and he put me on medication. And that was kind of like, ‘Okay, I’ll take the medication,’ and then I went to the chiropractor who is also a family friend and she had lost a lot of weight and she told me about HCG. I thought this is kind of a now or never kind of thing for me and I was tired of feeling terrible so we did it.”

So, if you’re overweight and thinking about trying HCG or some other diet, first take a look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Is this going to be the weight loss strategy that works?” If there’s any question about it, keep looking until you find a strategy that you can stick to and finally drop the pounds.

Ashley Page is a super-writer at Off-Topic Media. Many thanks to Dr. Joe Serra for sharing his weight loss story with us. He can be reached at:

Dr. Joseph Serra
42010 Grand River Ave.
Novi, MI 48375


  1. Miranda M says

    My mom tried this diet before; it’s very strict, limiting, and very expensive, but it did work for her and she said she wasn’t hungry on it. I don’t think it’s a sustainable way of living, though, and definitely not something most people would want to try.