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HCG Diet: Is it safe and does it work?

Before getting to the heavy HCG talk, let’s talk breakfast.

It’s an every day occurrence that I bookmark a recipe found on a blog that I can’t wait to try. But none of those recipes revolve around oats. *yawn*

…until yesterday.

Fruit, cinnamon, chia seeds, nut butters, seeds, eggs…the blog world has glorified oats from just about every imaginable angle. But NO creative oats top Jessie’s Black Forest Oatmeal! I saw these oats on her blog yesterday and could not wait to bound out of bed to try them!

And…oh…my…gosh. Heaven in a bowl.

Black Forest Oats borrowed from Jessie’s

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup skim milk + 1/2 cup water
1/2 ounce chocolate chips, chunks, or shavings
2/3 cup bing cherries, pitted
1 Tbsp unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp walnut pieces


Mix oats and milk. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Add toppings, stir, and savor! Serves 1.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 437 calories; 18 g. fat; 4 mg. cholesterol; 180 mg. sodium; 62 g. carbohydrate; 7 g. fiber; 12 g. protein

Result: Ohhmygossh! Try! Fiber, protein, fat, and chocolate…what’s not to love!? 😀


The HCG Diet in Review

What. A. Hot. Topic. Whether flipping through magazine ads, surfing the internet, or passing by billboards, you’re bound to see media promoting The HCG diet — it’s making a comeback after it’s rein in the 50’s when it was used to jump-start puberty in young males. (Red flag, anyone?)

HCG, human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone secreted heavily during pregnancy. The hormone is made by cells which support placenta growth and nourish a fertilized egg. HCG signals the hypothalamus in the brain to move nutrition to the developing embryo.

In addition to HCG drops or injections, dieters eat a 500 calories a day consisting of lean meat and fish, fruits, and vegetables — starches, sugar, and processed foods are eliminated. In essence, the body enters a state of ketosis and must utilize fat stores. This aids in weight loss as ketosis is a “natural” appetite suppressant…with a lot of side effects and risks ranging from bad breath to kidney stones and gallstones.

After completing the HCG diet, there is a 6-week maintenance phase where the same foods are consumed, but the caloric intake increases to 1,500 calories.

And after that, most people re-introduce carbohydrates into the diet, see rapid weight gain, and spiral back into their old, bad habits, regaining the weight. Sigh.

And what does the science say?

Low-dose human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) combined with a severe diet remains a popular treatment for obesity, despite equivocal evidence of its effectiveness. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, the effects of HCG on weight loss were compared with placebo injections. Forty obese women (body mass index greater than 30 kg/m2) were placed on the same diet supplying 5,000 kJ per day and received daily intramuscular injections of saline or HCG, 6 days a week for 6 weeks. A psychological profile, hunger level, body circumferences, a fasting blood sample and food records were obtained at the start and end of the study, while body weight was measured weekly. Subjects receiving HCG injections showed no advantages over those on placebo in respect of any of the variables recorded. Furthermore, weight loss on our diet was similar to that on severely restricted intake. We conclude that there is no rationale for the use of HCG injections in the treatment of obesity. [source]

Question: Have you, or someone you know, tried the HCG diet? Was it successful?

P.S. Please check out my guest post on body image on Samantha’s blog, Bikini Birthday!

Down with fad diets and lots of carb love,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. July 22, 2010 / 5:25 am

    Not only is there not rational found…it just seems entirely unnatural. This is probably one of the diets I would least likely attempt to follow. That breakfast does look incredible!

  2. July 22, 2010 / 6:16 am

    That diet just makes me mad! Using hormones natural for pregnancy to accomplish unhealthy and unsafe weight loss? What is wrong with people!?!

  3. July 22, 2010 / 6:47 am

    I wonder why people on the HCG diet lost weight. Could it be the 500 calories a day? Nah.

    Thanks for the oats recipe. I eat them every day (I prep the night before then zap them in the microwave at work and eat at my desk). They can definitely get boring, so I’m always looking for more intersnting ways to make them. This looks soo good!

  4. July 22, 2010 / 6:49 am

    That diet sounds absolutely terrible! FIVE HUNDRED CALORIES A DAY is NOOOOTTTTT healthy. Ugh. Makes me SO angry.

    But then then the black forest oats + Jessie + you make me happy. Gotta shake it out.

  5. July 22, 2010 / 7:25 am

    Thanks for bringing up this fad. This starvation diet makes me so angry. I have had countless discussions with many on the dangers of this.

    Yummy oats.

  6. July 22, 2010 / 7:27 am

    The oatmeal sounds so good!

    I hadn’t heard about the HCG diet, but it sounds pretty crazy and potentially dangerous.

  7. Rachel Palmieri
    July 22, 2010 / 7:36 am

    My father lost about 80lbs on it. He was heavily monitored by his doctors who I would trust with my life. It allowed my father to lose weight and gain some healthy behaviors in terms of what he was eating. He is now much healthier and maintains his healthy behaviors. Do I think the HCG diet was the way to go? Heck no. But it worked for him and in the long run, those few months of the crazy diet might have been better than continued years of obesity. I still wouldn’t recommend it to anyone though!

  8. July 22, 2010 / 7:38 am

    I’ve never even heard of that diet! When will people understand that it’s all about balance-NOT cutting out foods!

  9. July 22, 2010 / 7:38 am

    Holy crazy! That diet sounds nuts!

    That oatmeal, on the other hand, looks AWESOME! Yum!

  10. July 22, 2010 / 7:54 am

    Ooo I have to agree that the bowl of oats you had does sounds AMAZING..and I am not a huge oat fan, but I’d go for this any day!

  11. July 22, 2010 / 8:29 am

    This diet scares me!!!! I can’t believe people would actually be willing to do this!!!

  12. July 22, 2010 / 8:53 am

    This diet sounds scary! I can’t believe people would do this….it just sounds awful.

  13. July 22, 2010 / 9:23 am

    Wow. I’ve never heard of that diet. So weird!

    That oatmeal looks amazing!! Don’t you just LOVE Jessie?!! Such a sweetheart!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Like YOU! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. July 22, 2010 / 10:03 am

    Well that breakfast surely is one of delicious champions. You should def start the day with coffee and chocolate.

    I love the “red flag” – so many diets are too extreme. Thanks for the details!

  15. July 22, 2010 / 10:07 am

    the chocolate looks like a great idea to breakfast

  16. July 22, 2010 / 10:13 am

    I’ve never heard of HCG diet before, but 5oo cal a day definitely unrealistic!

  17. July 22, 2010 / 11:53 am

    wow that doesn’t sound healthy at all. Similar to Atkins and South Beach, kind of. People just dont get it!

  18. July 22, 2010 / 12:19 pm

    OMG I can’t even believe that this would make a comeback. People are desperate and don’t want to put any effort into anything. This sounds dangerous. Gall stones are no fun, and are very common not only in obesity, but any time you cut back in fat, so it is very common with a lot of “diets”.

  19. July 22, 2010 / 4:12 pm

    Wow – that diet is just scary. I used to eat 500 calories a day and it was called an eating disorder.
    Everyone wants a quick fix these days – for everything. I think that is probably the biggest problem with our society. No one wants to put in the effort.

  20. July 22, 2010 / 4:45 pm

    I had a friend who did this diet. I do not agree with it, especially since she was not that overweight. Perhaps in those who needed to lose an excessive amount of weight (but it definitely needs to be closely monitored by a physician). I still think the best results come from hard work: healthy eating and exercise. She has since kept it off by the way.
    I saw that oatmeal on Jessie’s blog and also loved it! I have to make it!

  21. July 22, 2010 / 5:52 pm

    first off you are right those are some awesome oats! YUM! my friend tried that diet because she has always had a super hard time losing weight. it worked but she could not work out because she was only eating 500 cals a day and she of course gained it back once she started eating normally…..duh!

  22. July 22, 2010 / 7:58 pm

    Black Forrest Oats..yum!! My mom has done the HCG. Its frustrating to know better and sit back and watch.. just as you described she lost tons of weight and then put it right back on. When will they learn that there is no magic pill or injection?

  23. July 22, 2010 / 7:58 pm

    Nice job with the Black Forest Oats! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m glad you liked them!

    The HCG diet, on the other hand … jeepers. Injecting hormones in cases that are not medically necessary is risky. We talked about a similar diet in one of my classes (Omnifast, which also works by forcing the body into ketosis). My professor actually worked for an Omnifast company after becoming an RD. She made it clear that Omnifast was a last resort for people who are dangerously obese and who MUST lose weight to live. But the hormones … not cool. At all. I’m hoping this is a VERY short lived fad.

  24. July 22, 2010 / 9:56 pm

    The cherry and coconut sound so yummy in your oatmeal!

  25. July 23, 2010 / 8:41 am

    Ohhhh, these actually do look heavenly! Like cherry garcia for breakfast. I get sick of most oatmeal toppings in a day – I think this is a keeper, mmmmmmm!

  26. Kevin
    September 28, 2010 / 8:02 pm

    I have lost 35 lbs. in 42 days on HCG. Because I have very bad arthritic knees, one of which has been operated on 4 times, I can’t go work it off in the gym. It would take me forever and there’s no way I could stay committed that long. I hear people talking about it being unhealthy. Well, duh, if you were eating 500 calories without the HCG, it would be unhealthy because all you would burn is a little fat and a lot of muscle.

    I don’t feel hungry. I eat good food, but it’s very low calorie food, which I never ate before, so I am also learning to eat a healthier diet out of necessity. In the past 6 weeks, my headaches have gone from daily to zero, my blood pressure has gone from 160/110 down to 130/70, my glucose levels have gone from between 200-300 to averaging about 110. I have more energy. I feel better. I am more positive about life in general and people say I look great. Somebody please tell me how that is unhealthy for me.

  27. Sher
    November 19, 2010 / 1:36 am

    I have to say to all the people that put their nose up in the air for the HCG needs to read about it and understand how it works..I have been a bodybuilder most of my 20’s now I am 50 and I have done everything in my power to lose the weight that I have gained after child birth and eating all the processed foods….. The 500 calories is not dangerous if you understand how the hcg works… If you follow the protocals exactly it will change your hytholomus into a normal state not the damaged state its been in from eating all the junk society has pushed on us… It then will allow you to eat anything you want as much as you want without gaining anymore weight like you use too when we were young….But not reverting back to the junkfood that got us there in the first place…If you eat protein ,vegetable ,and fruits and nuts you will never gain the weight back like you do when you do a regular crash diet of 500 calories….Nobody could stay on 500 calories without the hcg for the mere fact when your on hcg your blood is saturated with fat and it allows you to burn that fat without burning the important fat and muscle your body needs…. So all those people that are critics read before you make assumptions because hcg is a wonderful way to lose weight and tighten your skin without exercising go to the Simeon Protocol and read and learn

  28. Amanda
    November 17, 2011 / 10:54 am

    Plenty of you are passing judgement without knowing anything about the diet. First, MD’s have historically used VLCD (very low calorie diets) with people. Second, HCG was always intended to be doctor supervised. There are absolute and relative contraindications to doing this diet. It is absolutely not for everyone. It is only 42 days and while it may not be the epitome of a healthy diet I would hope you can agree that the years or decades of poor eating that lead someone to be overweight or obese is far more damaging. Also, while low in calories, most people are eating more fruits and vegetables than ever. They are also learning portion control. Lastly, blood pressure and blood sugars normalize and the profound health benefits from this far outweigh the physiologiical short term stress of this diet.

  29. October 16, 2012 / 6:54 am

    I used HCG for 2 different rounds. The 2nd one I did for 68 days, breaking it up twice. I not only lost weight but also so much FAT that was around my midriff, back, belly, and wrists that it is the BEST thing that ever happened to me. I did however have problems with Urinary Tract Infections and Yeast Infections and nowo have had kidney stone problems that are very painful. But to loose weight is worth it. I still have 80 more pounds to loose, and will do it again. Kidney stones won’t kill you but obesity and being morbidly obese will! I used the injections and they do work.

  30. Crystal Sell
    March 4, 2013 / 12:11 am

    Delicious black forest oats! Just had some and it was great thank you for letting me know about it!

  31. Melody
    October 1, 2013 / 1:08 pm

    Way to throw out fear based information.

    Perhaps doing a study on the full program and the options is provides would have been better.

    The reason it is a low caloric program is the fat being released into the system from the HCG provides the nutrients the body needs to sustain itself. Not everyone does the injections. I used a homeopathic version (drops).

    You see before, I became very ill,ending up in the hospital for a stomach intestinal blockage because of the way I was eating prior and it was a wake up call.

    I did diligent research on options to bring in clean eating.

    The supplement is only half of the diet – the other half is learning to eat clean, whole foods. If you would have looked further you would have found that. It has revolutionized my life and many others as well.

    I have lost 60 lbs and kept if off for over a year and now have helped 12 of my friends do the same. It is amazing to go from eating junk – to making good healthy choices about the foods we ingest.

    For us… we needed a little help to get us to that place, to break through that barrier of pounds and fat that had laid dormant on our bodies for decades and now that we are here…we want to help others.

    I love your recipe and I will try it – but please, in the future, consider the information you share from all perspectives before you share it.

  32. May 22, 2018 / 5:40 am

    Perfect diet doesn’t mean that you will not eat anything during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We just need to lessen the food we take without cheating. This is basically how diet works, self-control.

  33. August 27, 2018 / 1:12 am

    This issue is very well addressed. This is very helpful to make us realize how effective is HCG Diet and if it is effective.

  34. September 4, 2018 / 3:08 am

    HCG signals the brain to mobilize fat stores. When combined with a very low calorie diet and under a doctorโ€™s supervision, this allows us to quickly access your reserve fat stores so that you can lose the weight quickly, maintain your energy levels, and avoid the hunger associated with most diets.

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