It sounded too good to be true...
"HCG is a wonderful product. I lost 25 pounds on it" New Beginnings Health Food store owner Paula Bush said. Her husband, Oliver jump started his weight loss journey with HCG- his total was 59 pounds and counting.
"I lost 27 pounds in 23 days" Jackson County Commissioner Jeremy Branch said.
After testimonials like these and many more like them, HCG drops have been doted as a 'miracle diet'. They promise dramatic results in just a number of days.
"It increases your rate to burn calories when you want to lose weight. Then, if you restrict your calorie rate and you're burning calories more rapidly, you have a faster weight loss" explained registered dietitian, Mary Beth Gurganus.
For three weeks that was exactly what the HCG users we followed did- cut their calories down to 500 a day and put drops of HCG under their tongue 30 minutes before each meal.
Even more appealing, none of them exercised, it's not allowed while using the drops. And, because HCG also acts as an appetite suppressant, none of the dieters said they were hungry either.
"When your body says, 'OK, you've only given me 500 calories today, I need more calories to operate you, I need more fuel' the HCG hormone triggers your body to start burning stored fat" Branch explained.
But the diet triggered concern for Gurganus."The world health organization recognizes 1000 calories as starvation" she said.
To put it in perspective, 500 calories a day would be the equivalent to an average fast food cheeseburger or a large side of fries.
"You're going to revert back to your old lifestyle habits" Gurganus said. "You're going to be inclined to put weight back on and your metabolism is going to slow down to what it was before."
Branch disagreed noting, "Phase two and phase three of the diet, which are much less intense, are more about retraining your body and resetting your metabolism at your new weight and your new metabolic rate. And, training yourself to eat less food. I have continued to loose five pounds in phase two now."
HCG users did tell us the diet was not for the faint of heart and their weight loss was certainly not magic, but the result of hard work.
"I don't think they're magic. I don't think anytime you lose weight it's magic, it's a lot of work. It's a lifestyle change. Anybody can loose weight, the trick is keeping it off" Oliver Bush said.
"If you're doing it for a quick fix, then yeah, you will gain the weight right back" HCG user, Latonia McKinnie added. "Like, at first I did, I started gaining some weight back. Then I realized it's not about
losing weight it's about being healthy."
Though the drops are natural and sold over the counter- it has been recommended to consult a physician before using HCG.